POSITIVE JOB FIGURES MASK FALL IN PRODUCTIVITY
February 20 2013.



- In the three months to December 2012, unemployment fell by 14,000, compared with the previous three months, while total employment increased by 154,000.

- Within this total, full-time employment rose by 197,000, while the number of people in part-time employment fell by 43,000

- Youth unemployment rose by 11,000 over the quarter, but remains below 1 million



Commenting on the labour market figures, published today by the ONS, David Kern, chiefeconomist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: "Once again, UK unemployment is down, employment is up, and there is a significant fall in the number of economically inactive people. Although the 14,000 decline in unemployment was smaller than seen in previous months, this is partly because the level of inactivity fell by 94,000, as a large number of people returned to the workforce. The divergence between positive job figures in the fourth quarter and the 0.3% decline in GDP remains very stark. The contrast between the two suggests there has been a significant decline in productivity over the past year.

"British businesses are willing and able to grow and create jobs at a time when the government's deficit reduction plan will inevitably cause the public sector to shrink. A rise in employment makes it doubly important for developing an effective growth strategy. The fall in productivity is a complex issue, but improving the availability of finance to businesses with growth potential would be a good place to start, and this includes the early creation of a business bank."