Bleak statistics released today have suggested that the UK is once again facing an unemployment level of 3 million people – a return to the worst rate since the 1990’s.
The figures, which were released by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation and the KPMG show that the number of both new temporary and permanent roles available has declined at their fastest rate since 2009, leading them to predict a return to record levels of unemployment. In a statement, partner in KPMG Bernard Brown said:
“The latest recruitment data comes as a sobering reminder that we’re far away from a confident economic situation. Indeed, with both permanent and temporary appointments declining at the sharpest rate in nearly three years and overall demand for staff showing the weakest growth since the start of 2012, the outlook would appear bleak…A real worry for me is the acceleration in the pace of decline, which suggests it isn’t a mere blip.”
However, despite the sharp decline in job vacancies, the demand for workers significantly increased over the last month, particularly in the IT and computing and construction industries. Brown continued;
“There is still demand for workers and vacancies continue to rise. Recruiters tell us that employers are still hiring, but their increased sense of caution is manifesting in them taking longer to make decisions and to confirm hires – and that slow down in the recruitment is clearly having a negative impact on the number of placements.”
Indeed, research from the BDO has revealed that UK business confidence is at its lowest in 2012, and that performance has dropped from 95.5 in May to 93.5 in the following month. Representative from BDO Peter Hemington said;
“The figures point to a tough economic climate for the remainder of the year, possibly beyond. Since half our export goods go to the eurozone, it’s not surprising that turbulence there is denting longer-term growth prospects here.”
Business Secretary Vince Cable has hit out against banks, which he believes are in the large part responsible for this stagnation in UK business, commenting on the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday;
“Banks, because of their existing culture, which is frankly anti-business…are actually throttling the recovery of British industry. While [the Libor] debate was going on last week, I was appalled as I was going around firms in the north of England – super companies which have big export potential, got orders – and they just can’t get a loan from the bank to finance their exports and expansion”
However, professional jobs appear to be weathering better according to data from the Association of Professional Staffing and Companies, which indicates that there has been an improvement in growth following a poor performance in the Spring. Although the picture looks largely unsettled, and extremely variable, permanent places were up by 17% month on month.
Ann Swain, Chief Executive for APSCo commented;
“The latest data are an improvement on the bad news from early spring, but it’s not clear that this is the beginning of a long-term positive trend. The growth from the low-point in December hasn’t been as consistent or widespread as we would have hoped.”