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Annie Hayes



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Labour market tightens


Official statistics show that jobless numbers are sliding as the labour market continues to stabilize.

More people are in employment and fewer numbers have suffered redundancy while the unemployment rate is once again lower.

The employment rate for people of working age was 74.7% for the three months ending in October 2004. This is up slightly from the previous quarter but the trend in the employment rate is close to flat.

The number of unemployed people fell by 29,000, to 1.39 million.

Despite this good news, the ‘inactivity’ rate for workers is still up but remains unchanged from the last quarter at 21.5%.

Last month the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development warned that rosy employment figures mar the record numbers of economically inactive people.

Chancellor, Gordon Brown announced in his recent Pre-Budget report that he will be asking the National Employment Panel, working with the Ethnic Minority Business Forum, to report by the Budget on measures to address rock-bottom employment amongst ethnic minority groups.

Average earnings including bonuses is up to 4.1% an increase from 3.8% reported last month. City bonuses are thought to have put the squeeze on pay increases.

High employment rates are good news for government but puts further pressure on the war for talent for employers.

Deloitte’s Christmas retail survey shows that one in five retailers is concerned that they will be unable to recruit the right staff.

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Annie Hayes


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