By Claire West

Commenting on the labour market figures published today by the ONS, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“These figures were mixed. While there were some positive developments, particularly a big rise in employment and a fall in inactivity, the number of people working part time because they could not find a full time job, has increased further.

“There is no room for complacency and the labour market must prepare for the impact on jobs that will result from the government’s deficit cutting measures. With this in mind, we reiterate our forecast that UK unemployment is likely to peak at around 2.65 million in the first half of 2012.

“The government must reinforce its efforts to help the private sector create more jobs, in order to offset the unavoidable cutbacks that are likely to occur in the public sector. Reducing the significant regulatory burden facing small and medium-sized businesses must be a key element in any successful economic strategy aimed at encouraging growth and job creation.”