Jobs: ‘Unemployment situation isn’t all doom and gloom’

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UNEMPLOYMENT in Milton Keynes isn’t as bad as you might think. That’s according to a city centre-based recruitment agency.

There were 6,495 people unemployed and claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in January, an increase of 337 from December 2011, according to the Milton Keynes Intelligence Observatory.

That represents an unemployment rate of 4 per cent, higher than the south east average and similar to the UK rate.

But Nick Peacock, managing director of Ascendant Recruitment in Midsummer Boulevard, said figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show unemployment dropped by 1,000 since the same time last year. Ascendant specialises in recruitment in office, finance, human resources and sales and marketing.

Mr Peacock said: “The Milton Keynes economy is growing and there are a lot of opportunities around if you look in the right places – it’s really not all doom and gloom here!”

He said the company has had a “real push” on intelligence gathering and sales work and the findings are “very positive”. He said: “There appears to be a lot of optimism and hope in Milton Keynes in the office support sector.

“Demand for permanent employees is consistent but there is a surging demand for well qualified, flexible temporary office workers within the professional environments that dominate the Milton Keynes business community.”

He pointed to a report from the research group, Centre for Cities, that says Milton Keynes is “well placed to drive the national economic recovery, as they had seen a large number of business start ups and were highly innovative, with significant numbers of patents registered.”

Mr Peacock added” Not only is this fantastic news for the Milton Keynes business-sphere, but also for Milton Keynes job hunters. With more opportunities cropping up in the area we are likely to see an influx in local job vacancies.”

Giving a national picture, Dr John Philpott, chief economic adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), told a recent conference that even a modest economic recovery this year could see UK unemployment stabilise, while a stronger recovery has the potential to result in a sudden sharp fall in the jobless total.

Dr Philpott said: “The CIPD is amongst the first to stress the severity of the current jobs shortage and the importance of easing the plight of those desperate to find work. We have considerably more faith in the underlying strength of the UK labour market than some of those who criticise us for reporting labour market data as we see it. We are pessimistic about jobs only when we see the economy short of demand and employers tell us this is affecting their recruitment and redundancy plans. But we have consistently been very optimistic about the UK’s potential to create the private sector jobs needed to offset the loss of public sector jobs, and thus cut unemployment, once a sustained strong economic recovery is underway.

“The real jobs pessimists are those who think the way to cut unemployment is to turn the clock back on employment rights. There is no ‘UK labour market problem’ that a dose of employment deregulation would help overcome. The mass unemployment we are currently suffering is not caused by the inability of employers to hire and fire workers or excessive wage costs. The arguments of those who wrongly assert it ought to be rejected.”