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UK Unemployment data: "lengthening dole queue a warning of trouble ahead"

Mariano Mamertino, economist at the global job site, Indeed, comments:

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“Modest though it is, the increase in unemployment is a deeply worrying sign that the UK economy’s ability to create new jobs is running out of steam.

“Unemployment remains at a historically low level, but the lengthening dole queue is a warning of trouble ahead.

“The combination of strengthening economic headwinds, and the political uncertainty triggered by the Brexit referendum, is having a dramatic cooling effect on employers’ appetite to hire.

“At the end of March, just a month on from the confirmation of the Brexit referendum, the number of live job postings by UK employers on our site had fallen across all 13 major sectors.

“This is in sharp contrast to February, when job postings increased across the board.  

“The March Indeed Employment Trends index, based on a sample of hundreds of thousands of live UK job postings in 13 major employment sectors, shows recruitment activity slowed dramatically within days of the referendum being called.

“As yet it’s hard to know whether this dramatic reduction in job postings is a blip, or the beginning of a deeper trend.

“There are other reasons to be worried. Wage growth remains very weak, while inflation is rising. If this dynamic continues, employee confidence and spending power will falter, which has the potential to further erode economic growth.

“Additionally, softer economic growth in the last quarter of 2015 together with strong gains in employment have already brought about a deterioration in the UK’s weak underlying labour productivity performance, with labour productivity falling by 1.2% from the third to the fourth calendar quarter of 2015. This trend may continue well into the first quarter of 2016.”

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