Jobs Focus with Echo Personnel

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According to the office of National Statistics, unemployment has fallen to its lowest level in just under one year.

Although the UK is officially still in a recession, figures released by the office appear positive, showing unemployment to fall by 46,000 to 2.56 million between April and June.

This means there is an extra 201,000 people in work compared to the previous quarter, 130,000 of them being full time jobs.

To put this in perspective, since April 2010, 634,000 more people are in employment, more than half a million of these outside London.

Particularly encouraging is the fact that the number of 16 to 24-year-olds in work rose by 40,000 compared with the previous quarter.

Many of these will have been first jobbers and those leaving education which is encouraging news for those just beginning their working lives.

It appears employers confidence is growing as they are beginning to invest in the future again as opposed to merely surviving.

Work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith said: “These are positive and encouraging figures, demonstrating the strength of our private sector.

Notwithstanding the difficult economic times it is still creating jobs, the majority of which are full-time.

“Unemployment is falling and the claimant count is down.”

Ian Brinkley, director at The Work Foundation, said: “These figures are good and almost impossible to explain.

“The economy has been contracting for at least six months, according to the official statistics.

“Yet the private sector is still hiring people in large numbers.

“Moreover, many of the new jobs are full-time and permanent.

“If we were just looking at the labour market, we would say the UK is on track for a recovery rather than being in the double-dip recession shown by the GDP figures.”

Emilie Bennetts, Associate at Charles Russell LLP, said: “With indications that many businesses in the private sector are maintaining higher staffing levels than their output levels require, the labour market remains indisputably shaky.”  

Meanwhile, a survey by talent and career management company Right Management, part of Manpower Group, suggests companies are not planning to shed staff during the remainder of 2012.

According to the survey, 81 per cent of companies are not planning any redundancies in the next six months, with just four per cent saying there would be significant cutbacks. 

This could be a further sign things are looking up for the economy, although we are clearly not out of the woods yet.

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