FSB responds to record strength in job market

The latest UK jobs numbers show unemployment falling to 1.65 million, down by 54,000 from the previous period, with the unemployment rate now at 4.9%. Wage growth has risen slightly - with average earnings, including bonuses, up by 2.3%, a slightly raised rate of growth compared to the previous period.

Although these latest figures are welcome, they were collected before the result of the EU referendum was known. Since the referendum, the markets have fluctuated considerably and many business owners are reported to be cautious about the future health of the economy.

The latest Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Small Business Index, also taken before the referendum, revealed small business confidence at a four year low following the largest annual drop in the Index since it started in 2010. This suggests that while the labour market continues to show signs of strength, the overall economic outlook is far from certain.

Mike Cherry, FSB National Chairman, said:

“The unemployment rate is at historically low levels, but this does not seem to be translating into broader business confidence. Clearly there are other factors at play which, although not hitting jobs now, are causing business owners to take a cautious approach.

“Small businesses are already dealing with considerable new cost challenges, including the National Living Wage and pensions auto-enrolment deadlines. With the result of the EU referendum bringing even greater uncertainty about the future – small business will need reassurances from Government that it will support them and listen to their needs throughout the coming negotiations.”


Notes to Editors
1) Office for National Statistics, Labour Market Statistics March to May 2016, 20 July 2016
2) Federation of Small Businesses, ‘Small Business Index Q2 2016’, 04 July 2016. The FSB Small Business Index is the leading report focused on small businesses economic data. The SBI Q2 2016 survey was conducted between the 21 April and 9 May and features responses from 1,104 members of the FSB Big Voice survey community. The report covers a range of economic indicators including: small business confidence, employment and wages, exports, productivity, spare capacity, finance and investment. The SBI is conducted by independent research company Verve.

About FSB
As experts in business, FSB offers members a wide range of vital business services, including advice, financial expertise, support and a powerful voice in Government. Its aim is to help smaller businesses achieve their ambitions. More information is available at You can follow us on twitter @fsb_policy.

Media contacts:
Natasha Smith: 0207 592 8113 / 079 6734 4075
Jack Neill-Hall: 020 7592 8116 / 075 2580 1773

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The Federation of Small Businesses is the UK's largest campaigning pressure group promoting and protecting the interests of the self-employed and owners of small firms. Formed in 1974, it now has around 200,000 members across 33 regions and 188 branches.