Firms 'add 150,000 to workforce'
Private firms are swelling their staff at a record pace with manufacturers, builders and services firms on course to add 150,000 jobs in the first three months of this year, according to financial data firm Markit.
The fastest rate of employment in the 16-year history of Markit's purchasing manager surveys leaves unemployment virtually certain to breach the Bank of England's 7% threshold for considering interest rate hikes imminently. Official unemployment stands at 7.2%.
While services – accounting for three-quarters of output – remains the key driver of the economy, the fastest rate of jobs growth is coming among construction firms as Help to Buy lifts housebuilding.
The UK is "easily" on course for its best year since 2007 in 2014, chief economist Chris Williamson said.