Recruiters, economists and business minister cast doubt on jobs outlook

Fresh doubts have been raised about the economy's ability to absorb quickly the thousands of public-sector workers who will soon be made redundant as a result of spending cuts.

Across the economy in October, staff appointments rose at their weakest rate for 14 months, according to the latest Report on Jobs from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation and the accountants KPMG. The report also shows that growth in vacancies hit a one-year low last month and that there has been an increase in the number of permanent candidates looking for work.

Bernard Brown, a partner and head of business services at KPMG, said: "Many public-sector organisations have now started redundancy programmes, or at least imposed hiring freezes, and at the moment the private sector is not creating new jobs in sufficient numbers to offset this public-sector downturn. Employers across all sectors are more wary about taking on new staff."

And, after a remarkable recovery in the middle months of this year, the construction sector seems poorly placed to hire more staff and is set for a marked double-dip recession. The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply said its headline confidence index slipped from 53.8 to 51.6 between September and October. Although above the neutral 50 mark, the readings on housing and employment are especially weak. Expected deep cuts in public programmes are depressing the sector.

Meanwhile, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development stood by its prediction that the deficit-reduction programme would cost 1.6 million jobs by 2016, despite hostile questioning of its chief economic adviser, John Philpott, by MPs. Professor Philpott, who was told he possessed the forecasting skills of a "dead octopus", told the Treasury Select Committee that growth for the next two years would be insufficient to generate enough jobs.

Government plans for creating jobs through local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) were also undermined by the leak of a letter from Mark Prisk, the minister for business and enterprise, to his Secretary of State, Vince Cable, declaring that the policy could be "a failure in large parts of England". The CBI's chief economist, Ian McCafferty, added that the LEPs "lack sufficient scale and resources".

Food and clothing prices still rising

Shop prices hit their highest levels last month since January, driven by a spike in food and clothing costs.

The annual rate of shop price inflation jumped to 2.2 per cent in October, compared with 1.9 per cent in September, according to the Nielsen-British Retail Consortium survey. The rising price of cotton lifted non-food price inflation to 1.1 per cent; the soaring wheat costs raised food prices to 4.4 per cent.

Stephen Robertson, director general of the BRC, said: "Wheat is up 47 per cent compared with a year ago, affecting the price of staples such as bread – and some meat products."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Selby Jennings: Oil Operations

Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...

The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operations Manager

£43500 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operatio...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - LONDON

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000 + Car + Pension: SThree: SThree are a ...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there