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2015 ends on positive note with good news on jobs

Employment is up; unemployment is down and the youth unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level for more than ten years.

The latest labour market statistics from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) shows that, in the three months from August to October 2015, employment was up 207,000 and unemployment was 110,000 lower.

It means that job growth in the UK has "well and truly recovered" said Mark Beatson, chief economist at the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development.

David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: 

"This is an encouraging pre-Christmas set of figures, with employment rising to a record high, unemployment falling, and inactivity declining. Overall these figures demonstrate that our flexible and vibrant labour market remains a source of strength for the UK economy."

Small businesses are playing a key part in the positive employment picture, according to John Allan, National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). He said: 

"The continuing growth in employment and wages is further positive proof of the ability of the private sector, and small firms in particular, to create good quality jobs."
Despite the good news, Allan cautioned:
"FSB research confirms smaller businesses are playing their role in job creation despite a cooling of confidence in recent months. This is likely to reflect a number of upcoming policy changes that businesses are grappling with, including higher than expected minimum wage increases, auto-enrolment deadlines, and changes to how dividends are taxed.

"With many of these challenges due to hit smaller businesses simultaneously in the early half of 2016, we encourage ministers to monitor the situation closely and be prepared to consider extra transitional support for small firms if the jobs market shows signs of cooling. Crucially, we would urge against any further measures that raise the cost of doing business at this time."

The ONS figures also show that in the same period, the annual growth in average earnings fell to 2.4% including bonuses and to 2% excluding bonuses.

The CIPD's Mark Beatson said: 

"Wage growth remains subdued, and this makes it less likely that we will see interest rates increase during 2016. With very low inflation, the average pay packet is still increasing in real terms, but this will only be sustainable if productivity increases. This will require organisations to invest in technology, new systems and their workforce."

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