New ICAP figures point to an improving joblessness picture

Ben Southwood
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THE UNEMPLOYMENT picture was improving in August, said brokerage ICAP yesterday, as the number of applicants per vacancy dropped, but the data suggested that the employment situation might nevertheless be worsening.

ICAP’s unemployment index, which measures the number of applicants per job, decreased three per cent in August. But this came largely from a large reduction in applicants, rather than an increase in vacancies – which actually declined 2.5 per cent – potentially muddying the message the data is sending.

And the employment index – which measures vacancies lagged by two months – declined 8.9 per cent, indicating that employment in August may decline despite apparently improving joblessness.