By Daniel Hunter

Following Wednesday's unemployment figures Bernard Brown, partner and head of business services at KPMG, has said that whilst they are encouraging there are still certain long-term concerns.

Unemployment fell by 49,000 to 2.51 million in the three months to September, taking the jobless rate to 7.8% from 7.9%.

"This data is yet another sign of recovery in the jobs market, and it is being driven primarily by an increasing confidence in the private sector, where manufacturing and services have seen an uptick in demand," Brown said.

"Various data sources show that in pockets around the country we are also seeing greater numbers securing permanent jobs across a variety of sectors, but progress is slow and employment figures are masked, to some degree, by the high numbers employed in part-time roles.

“Yet, whilst any increase in employment is a good thing, we should not forget the plight of the long-term unemployed and younger members of society, who are struggling to break into the workforce. Their inability to find roles is damaging, both for individual morale and for organisational capability because UK organisations are still suffering from skills shortages that affect performance, productivity and profitability.

“Whether its specialist roles in core sectors, such as engineering or energy, the question that everyone wants an answer to is this: ‘when will confidence return sufficiently so that recruiting is seen as a necessity not a luxury?’. Until we have an answer, we cannot afford to be lulled into a false sense of security, or determine whether the latest figures are setting a trend which will eventually be viewed as the first sign of sustainable growth.”

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