ERSA welcomes the latest Labour Market Statistics published today which show the employment rate at a record high of 74.5%, up 0.7% on the year, and the unemployment rate at 4.8%, the lowest for over a decade. With 49,000 more people in work in the past quarter and 461,000 on the year, there are now more people in employment than ever before (31.8 million).

Sam Windett, ERSA’s Head of Policy and Communications, said:

“These government statistics continue to show the positive contribution made by employment support providers on the UK labour force, working at the frontline to help jobseekers into sustainable employment. However, the government now faces increasing uncertainty in the labour market as well as existing challenges to close the productivity and disability employment gaps. Ahead of next week’s Autumn Statement, the government must prioritise the specialist employment support which will be crucial over the coming years.

“Of most concern is the planned 80% decrease in Government expenditure for procured employment support programmmes from next year, highlighted by ERSA’s recent report commissioned from WPI Economics. This needs a rapid rethink by the new Chancellor if we are to meet the challenges on the horizon – and next week’s Autumn Statement provides an opportunity to put this right.”