June Labour Market Update

Latest labour market update shows a positive outlook despite re-entry to recession and strong employment figures compared to other EU countries.

Briefing published on 20 June 2012 by Paul Swinney

This month’s labour market data continued to bring good news about the UK job market despite the recent re-entering of the UK economy into recession.  And whereas the fragility of the improvement of the labour market has been underlined by its reliance on part time employment in recent months, the latest data suggests that the demand for full time employment is now also increasing.

The number of full time workers increased by 82,000 in the three months to April, reversing its fall in the three months to March.  Part time employment growth also remains strong,increasing by 83,000

The rate of public sector job losses has slowed

The rate of public sector job losses has slowed significantly over the last year. As Figure 1 shows, the quarterly change in public sector employment has scaled back from a fall of 123,000 in Q2 2011 to 39,000 in Q1 2012.

The smaller fall in the last quarter was coupled with the much stronger performance of private sector employment. For the first time in a year, employment in the private sector offset the falls in public sector employment. There were 205,000 more people in private sector employment compared to the previous quarter – the strongest increase since Q2 2010.

Unemployment remains well below EU average

The recent improvement in the labour market means that the UK’s unemployment rate remains well below the EU and Eurozone averages of 10.3 and 11 percent respectively.