SCC Comment on Labour Market Figures

15th November 2017

Commenting on the latest labour market statistics released today, Liz Cameron, Chief Executive, Scottish Chambers of Commerce said:

“The latest ONS statistics released today have provided a mixed set of results, but continue to highlight resilience in the UK economy.

“The current estimate for productivity has seen output per hour increase by 0.9%, in comparison to a fall of 0.1% in the second quarter of the year.  Although it is welcome news to see productivity growth across the economy, this continues to persist at a level which lags previous norms.

“Today’s Labour Market Figures also displayed a mixed set of results.  At a national level, average weekly earnings continued to grow at 2.2%, maintaining the trend of wage rises which haven’t kept pace with inflation.

“Although the unemployment figures continue to paint a picture of a strong labour market, there are some slight indications of concern.  In a UK context, it is worth noting that employment has fell alongside unemployment in this period, translating to an increase in the economic inactivity rate of 0.3%.

“Furthermore, Scotland has demonstrated a deviation from this national trend, with a slight increase in the unemployment rate of 0.1%, and a fall in the number of economically inactive individuals.

“Although these statistics still broadly suggest a labour market in good health, weak wage growth will continue to impact on consumer spending while inflation holds at current levels.

“Our focus remains on the upcoming UK budget, in which the Chancellor has an opportunity to address some of the key structural issues constraining productivity growth.   Targeted investment in the UK’s skills base and infrastructure will reinvigorate business confidence, leading to increased wages and boosted consumer spending – the engine which drives the UK economy.”


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