Data released by the ONS this morning showed that the total number of jobs vacancies in the economy fell by 30,000 in the last quarter. This is largely confined to the public sector, with 28,000 fewer vacanies reported in public administration and defence. This figure will include a drop in the number temporary of vacancies associated with the Census, but it serves to highlight the importance of private sector jobs for the health of the labour market.
The good news is that manufacturers are looking to take on new workers. The number of vacancies for workers in manufacturing grew by nearly 60% over the last year. This is the fastest growth on record. True, this does reflect a bounce-back from the low point of the recession, but even over the last three months an additional 6,000 vacancies have been advertised by the sector.
Figure 1: Vacancies in manufacturing (thousands)
However, anecdotal evidence does suggest that with recovery other problems - such as skills shortages - are emerging.