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Federation of Small Businesses

Rise in unemployment reflects faltering business confidence

20 April 2016 11:45


Rise in unemployment reflects faltering business confidence

The latest UK jobs numbers show that although employment is broadly stable, unemployment has increased for the first time since mid-2015, up by 21,000 on the previous period. Wage growth has slowed - with earnings, including bonuses, up by 1.8%, a slower increase then the 2.1% in the previous period.

The disappointing results mirror the finding of the latest FSB Small Business Index which revealed small business confidence is at its lowest level since 2013.

Mike Cherry, FSB Policy Director, said:

“The unemployment rate remains at a historically low level, but for the first time in over a year we are beginning to see the number of people out of work creep back up. The slowdown in wage growth should also be seen as a warning sign that businesses are looking to contain costs amid a challenging policy environment.

“Our latest research shows small businesses are less confident than in previous quarters. They are dealing with a raft of new cost challenges, including the National Living Wage and pensions auto-enrolment deadlines. To meet these challenges employers are looking for ways to keep costs down and this is translating into slower jobs and wage growth.

“Ministers should take note of these early warning signs and make sure they take further action to ease the burden on businesses and support firms looking to grow and create jobs.”


Notes to Editors
1) Office for National Statistics, Labour Market Statistics December to February 2016, 20 April 2016
2) Federation of small businesses, FSB Small Business Index Q1 2016, 18 March 2016. The FSB Small Business Index is the leading report focused on small businesses economic data. The report covers a range of economic indicators including: small business confidence, employment and wages, exports, productivity, spare capacity, finance and investment.

About the 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.

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Chantelle Eckersall

Area Administrator - North & Midlands


About Federation of Small Businesses

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.

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