Employment will grow to a record high of 30 million people by 2015 as a result of a “flexible labour market”, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).
Its latest annual “Barometer” report on the labour market indicates that the number of people in employment should grow during 2013 to reach 30 million before the next election on 7 May 2015.
If true, this would result in the UK reaching the historic milestone of 30 million employed people earlier than Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecasts. Earlier this month the OBR predicted that employment would not reach 30 million until late-2015.
In mid-December, the ONS reported that employment was 499,000 higher in the three months to October 2012 than it had been in the same period a year earlier to stand at 29.6m – its highest ever level. But the ONS said average earnings, excluding bonuses, were rising at an annual rate of 1.7% – well below the current inflation rate of 2.7%.
The CIPD says that the reasons for jobs growth at the same time as relatively static economic growth are “an enigma”. It added that it cannot be explained entirely by underemployment – people taking part-time jobs when they would prefer to work full-time work – because underemployment hasn’t grown hugely significantly.