‘No sign’ of improvement in UK labour market

By Tony Hudson

Prospects for recovery in the UK economy seem further away than ever, following a report which showed British employers to be fearful of the future.

There will be a "slow, painful contraction" in the jobs market in the final quarter of 2011, the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development's (Cipd) quarterly Labour Market Outlook report found.

The eurozone crisis and global economic turmoil has prompted employers across all sectors to hold-off on employment-related decisions, including taking on new workers.

The effects of the economic uncertainty are not entirely negative, however. Some employers are also scaling back on redundancies and relocations, according to the report.

Gerwyn Davies, the report's author, said: "Many firms appear to be locked in 'wait and see' mode" as a result of global economic uncertainty.

"Recruitment intentions are falling, which will make further rises in unemployment therefore seem inevitable given that public sector job losses are outpacing the predictions made by the Office for Budget Responsibility."

Commenting on the findings, shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne criticised the government's handling of the economy.

"Unemployment started rising again well before the current eurozone crisis," he said.

"The government's economic policies – spending cuts and tax rises that go too far too fast – have choked off growth and led to record levels of unemployment, with youth unemployment soaring."