Manufacturing employment up, but labour market news is mixed

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There has been a great deal of discussion in recent months about the divergence between the negative GDP figures and continued improvements in the labour market.

There is a similar picture in manufacturing.

In the second quarter of 2012, the number of jobs in manufacturing increased by 1.1% to 2.59mn. This is the third consecutive quarterly rise in employment in the sector, despite official statistics showing that output has been falling over this period.

While this might be a positive story, other news is more mixed. Official statistics suggest the number of vacancies in the sector has softened in recent months, and the number of redundancies has been elevated. And anecdotal evidence suggests that although some manufacturers are recruiting at the highly-skilled end, some are also reducing their headcount amongst less-skilled workers in order to improve productivity.

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