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BCC: Positive Labour Market Trends but Signs of a Slowdown

•    From September to November 2014 employment rose by 37,000 and unemployment fell by 58,000
•    From September to November 2014 the unemployment rate was 5.8% compared with 6.0% in the previous three months
•    The youth unemployment rate was 16.9%, up from 16.0% in the previous three months
•    Earnings including bonuses rose by 1.7%, compared with the year earlier and earnings excluding bonuses rose by 1.8%
•    The claimant count in December 2014 fell by 29,700 compared with November 2014.

Commenting on the latest Labour market statistics for January 2015 published today by the ONS, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce said:

“These figures again confirm that the UK labour market remains a key strength for the UK, but there are some areas of concern. Although employment is up and unemployment is down, the quarterly changes were the lowest since 2013, supporting the view that the UK economy may be gradually slowing.

“It is also disappointing that youth unemployment, after a long period of steady decline, increased between September and November 2014. While youth unemployment is markedly lower than a year ago we cannot ignore the fact that it remains consistently higher than the adult unemployment rate.

“The modest upturn in average earnings growth is a positive development – earnings are also increasing at a faster rate than prices and real living standards are improving. However, wage growth will only be sustainable if it is matched by increased productivity. Equally, earning increases remain below 2% and do not provide any justification for considering an interest rate rise.  The focus of economic policy must remain on sustaining and improving economic growth.”

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