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Take new jobs figures with a dose of caution

By David Elliott

Rather than the soaring unemployment levels witnessed during previous recessions which saw nearly 120,000 people in the dole queue, this one was only around half that at its worst.

And the latest figures reveal that the jobs market is recovering quicker and more confidently than back then, confounding expectations for a protracted slump.

The headline unemployment rate, the claimant count and even the number of young people out of work has all come down and given an unexpected boost to the economic outlook.

This from a set of numbers which are widely regarded as a lagging indicator of economic health.

If that's still the case, and economic theory suggests it is, then these figures represent an improving economy some months past.

So a pleasing set of figures that will give a boost all round but there's still no room for complacency.

That bed bug of the Northern Ireland job market, the economic inactivity rate climbed again last month and in doing so gave a sharp dig in the kidneys to the arms aloft brigade.

It's the same in the US where the number of people actually wanting to work fell last month as revealed in last Friday's nonfarm payrolls which sent stock markets tumbling.

The world's biggest economy's unemployment rate had been performing equally impressively a few short months ago but it's experience proves a healthy dose of caution is advisable.

Belfast Telegraph


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