Jobs boom forecast to hit wall...

Ben Southwood
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THE LABOUR market will not be able to maintain its strong form through 2014, according to official forecasts out yesterday.

Employment will grow only around 100,000 between 2013 and 2014, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) said, while unemployment will edge up from 7.9 per cent to eight per cent.

But average earnings will pick up next year, growing 2.7 per cent, and edging back above consumer price inflation – those in work will enjoy a 0.3 per cent improvement in their real pay, the OBR predicts.

And the labour market should recover some strength when the economy is predicted to return to growth. In 2015, around 200,000 more will find jobs, the OBR says, unemployment will edge down, and earnings will grow 1.5 per cent.

By 2017, 30.5m will be in work, compared to today’s 29.7m, and unemployment will have fallen to 6.9 per cent, from as high as 8.1 per cent in 2011.

By that point real average earnings will also be ticking along healthily, the budget watchdog said, up two per cent in both 2016 and 2017.

...following a fresh quarter of upbeat labour market figures

EMPLOYMENT continued to grow healthily in the three months to January, but unemployment edged up as hundreds of thousands piled into the labour market.

A total of 131,000 extra people got jobs between November and January, official numbers showed yesterday, bringing the total to another all-time record of 29.73m.

But 7,000 more reported being unemployed, as the working age population grew 17,000 and 118,000 fewer were economically inactive.

Meanwhile, figures for the final three months of 2012 showed that public sector employment fell again – for the 13th straight quarter – by 20,000 to reach 5.72m. But this overall fall came mainly from cutting 32,000 from local rolls, as central government added 11,000.