Responding to the latest labour market statistics, which show that the unemployment rate fell to 5.6% in February, while wages were up 1.7% year-on-year, James Sproule, Chief Economist at the Institute of Directors, said:
“These are very encouraging figures, with the proportion of people in work reaching a 40 year high. The majority of new employment is also full-time rather than part-time. Flexibility has been key to the performance of the UK labour market in recent years, making it easier for businesses to create jobs.
“This is in stark contrast to many countries in Europe with rigid labour markets where unemployment, particularly youth unemployment, remains high. UK politicians considering more employment regulation need only look at these examples to see the importance of maintaining flexibility for employers and employees.
“Private sector job growth has been particularly positive, with businesses more than absorbing the workers who have shifted from the public sector as necessary fiscal consolidation takes place.
“While many people would like to see greater pay increases, wages are now rising in line with historic productivity growth, making them sustainable in the long term and allowing UK companies to remain competitive.”