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UK – Unemployment falls due to private sector jobs growth

12 December 2012

UK unemployment has fallen by 82,000 between August and October to 2.51 million from the previous quarter. From a year ago, this figure is down 128,000. The latest figures by the Office of National Statistics today show that the jobless rate in the period dropped to 7.8%.

Within the course of a year employment jumped by nearly half a million to 29.6 million, reaching a rate of 71.2%.

The data also sheds some light on public and private sector employment.

As expected, employment in the public sector fell for the 12th consecutive month and dropped by 324,000 from a year ago to 5.75 million. Year-on-year, the number of people employed in the private sector rose by 823,000 to 23.8 million.

The chief executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, Kevin Green, said:  “We have record levels of employment in this country and the jobs market has continued to improve in the last quarter of 2012.

“Our members report that employer demand is outstripping supply for workers with certain skills like IT, engineering, care work and sales. All our data suggests that employer confidence is genuinely bouncing back with businesses feeling more encouraged to hire, which bodes well for 2013.”

The increase in employment has been eyed with criticism by some experts who say the rise is largely attributable to those working part-time or in temporary positions.

“Commentators are wrong to complain of the growth in levels of self-employment, temporary and part-time work.  Four out of five part-time workers choose to work that way because it suits their home life, studies or caring responsibilities. Hundreds of thousands of people temp out of choice and about a quarter of temporary workers end up being taken on as permanent members of staff,” said Mr Green.

“The economy as a whole is still fragile but it’s the flexibility within our labour market, people at all levels of the workforce willing to take on temporary contracts, project work and part time roles that has meant we haven’t seen the levels of unemployment experienced on the continent.”

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