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Bad News For Graduates As UK Slides Back Into Reccession

Graduate JobsUniversityUnemployment

So it's official. According to statistics released on Wednesday the UK is back in recession?- and it looks like that's bad news for graduate recruitment.

So it's official. According to statistics released on Wednesday the UK is back in recession - and it looks like that's bad news for graduate recruitment.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reports that the British economy shrank by 0.2% in the last quarter. That might not sound like much, but it could have a heavy impact upon the job market, with unemployment already at some 2.6 million.

Also on Wednesday, a recruitment firm published a report suggesting that eight in every ten recruiters plan not to take on any staff over the next three months, for fear that economic conditions will continue to worsen.

It's not all bad news: the survey shows signs of life in areas like the utilities; but it also observes a significant geographical divide in outlook, with employers in the West of England, Wales and Northern Ireland significantly more 'pessimistic' than their Eastern counterparts.

The recruitment firm commented: "The 2012 jobs market sits on a knife edge. In some ways this is a reflection of a weakening economy. We hear stories about companies hoarding cash and not investing."

"In the same way", he added, "we see a number of business sectors battening down the hatches, holding onto existing levels of staff and not hiring with any great enthusiasm."

In general it looks ominous for graduates. Last week GRB's Jordan Bishop reported that graduate wages are at their lowest since 2003, and a survey by a jobsboard confirms that University leavers have not escaped the effects of economic difficulty. 1% of those questioned are still looking for a job a year after graduation, and as many as half are considering self-employment. Just a quarter of those out of work have been invited for an interview.

At the end of 2011 graduate unemployment stood at 18.9%, according to the ONS.

If this rash of statistics makes for uncomfortable reading, console yourself with the fact that economists believe that the UK economy is stronger than the growth statistics suggest. Manufacturing and construction services, for example, are thought to be recovering well. Data collected by the British Chambers of Commerce even suggests that the economy actually grew over the period in which the ONS measured a decline.

It doesn't matter how you spin it, though. There are signs that the economy may yet recover - but it really is still incredibly tough out there.

Tom, GRB Journalist

tom brada grb author

Tom studied English and Drama at The University of Bristol.

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