Sunday, 14 March 2010


John Lynes reports the news on behalf of regional recruitment company Ashdown Group that unemployment officially recorded a small fall in the latest period.

According to Chief Executive of the Recruitment Employers Confederation (REC), Kevin Green, the UK jobs market remains fragile, but "improving employer confidence is resulting in a more positive outlook on hiring intentions over the coming year."

However Mike Greenshields picks up on a local rise in Slough, where seasonal trends have contributed to an increase in the unemployment numbers to 4.6%.

He says this contradicts evidence of growing confidence levels shown in surveys conducted by Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Slough's nattily-titled Commissioner for Opportunity and Skills, Cllr Fiza Matloob, downplayed any wider influences on the economy, arguing that the local rise is a simple seasonal issue as readjustments are made due to the end of temporary contracts in the retail sector from the Christmas period.

However long-term and youth unemloyment continue to be a matter of pressing concern for local politicians.

Prospective Parliamentary candidate for Reading West, Cllr Daisy Benson, has made this issue a feature of her campaign.

In a typically thorough post she gives credit to the variety of local agencies who are helping reduce the number of NEETs and argues that "We cannot afford both as a society and as an economy to overlook any young person."

She also provides an interesting selection of detailed statistics and a pertinent video - well worth a watch.

Unemployment figures also caught my eye recently. With a national jobless figure of 7.8%, this represents a 50% rise since the start of the credit crunch.

I identified the controversy in the use of official statistics, commenting that "desperation for good news and talking up the positives at the expense of realism quickly leads to delusion and disillusion."

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