POSITIVE JOB FIGURES ARE ENCOURAGING - BCC
October 17 2012.



- Unemployment fell by 50,000 and employment rose by 212,000 between June and August

- Youth unemployment fell by 62,000 and is now below one million

Commenting on the labour market figures published today by the ONS, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: "The latest job market figures are encouraging and support our assessment that the UK economy has returned to positive growth in the third quarter of 2012. The level of employment is at a record high, and the fall in the level of inactivity is a positive development, signaling that people are returning to the workforce. The strong trend in the labour market raises questions about the accuracy of GDP figures which are still showing three consecutive declines over the period to the second quarter of 2012.

"Despite the positive job figures there are still some areas of concern, particularly the further increases in the number of people that have been unemployed for more than a year, and for more than two years. The overall economic situation remains difficult. There is little doubt that the economy has been stagnant for too long, and forceful measures are needed to ensure that we return to sustainable positive growth.

"Efforts to reduce the deficit will mean that employment in the public sector will continue to shrink. So it is critical to ensure that the private sector is strong and thriving and remains able to create new jobs. The government must build on the positive job figures, with measures to help businesses grow and create jobs. An effective growth strategy should include further deregulation, increased infrastructure spending, and rapid implementation of the decision to create a business bank. If the trend in employment is reversed, the government should not hesitate to reduce employer National Insurance contributions to improve businesses' ability to take on staff."