Mixed reports continue to emerge regarding the state of the UK economy, upon which rest the fortunes of the country’s contractor workforce. According to the latest report, however, people working through umbrella companies and limited companies are unlikely to see any discernible pick up in job prospects until well into 2011.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) was actually referring to the latest official labour market statistics released this week by the Official for National Statistics (ONS). We reported yesterday on these figures, which revealed that unemployment rose slightly during the three months to October, reaching its highest level for six months at 7.9 per cent. According to the CIPD, this amounts to “no joy and very little comfort” for all jobseekers hoping for new opportunities in the pre-Christmas jobs market. The Chief Economic Advisor to the organisation, Dr John Philpott, went so far as to suggest that the stats were “far worse than expected.”

By contrast with the positive momentum which had been seen in the early part of 2010, Dr Philpott continued, the latest figures indicate that this has “run out of steam” even before the coalition’s tax hikes and spending cuts have fully hit the economy – a development which, in his opinion, does not bode well for next year.

Dr Philpott did note a crumb of comfort – there was a tiny increase in job vacancies during the period recorded by the statistics, and a slight fall in the number of people claiming job seeker’s allowance. His comments are in marked contrast to those of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) which regarded the same figures as disappointing but no cause for despondency. According to the BCC, the long term trends are for a strong labour market.

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