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ONS: Unemployment down, but self employment up

Posted on 02 July 2012

Good news alert. Unemployment in the UK has fallen by 51,000 to 2.61
million, while the jobless rate is also down 0.2 percentage points to
8.2%, new figures have revealed. The sad news is that a large proportion
of these improving figures can be accounted for by the rise in the
number of self employed people.

Although the number of full-time workers increased by 82,000 to reach
21.32 million during the three-month period February to April 2012 –
and the number of part-time workers increased by 83,000 to reach 7.97
million –  the number of self-employed people increased by 84,000 over
the quarter to reach 4.17 million, the highest figure since comparable
records began in 1992.

Gerwyn Davies, labour market policy adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, told the Telegraph today:
"A rise in self-employment may, in itself, be a good thing, however
previous analysis from the CIPD found that the recent rise was less a
sign of a resurgent enterprise culture, and more evidence of a growing
army of part-time ‘odd jobbers’ desperate to avoid unemployment".

Commenting on the new figures published by the Office for National
Statistics (ONS), employment minister Chris Grayling said: "Any fall in
unemployment is very welcome but I remain cautious over the next few
months given the continuing economic challenges we face."

Sticking to the good news, there are more jobs available in the economy.

Vacancies are at 465,000, up 7,000 on this time last year, while the
number of people employed in the private sector is up 205,000 on the
quarter. This more than offsets a 39,000 fall in public sector
employment.

"These figures show that with the right support in place it is
possible for the private sector to create jobs while the public sector
employment is falling,” Grayling added.