Employment in UK manufacturing industries fell by 12,000 in July to a total of 3,995,000. But manufacturing employment remains flat, with a total net increase of 4,000 in the year to July 1997. The increase compared with a rise in the previous year of 69,000.
Wage costs are rising faster than productivity, the latest Government figures show. Manufacturing unit wage costs were up 3.1% compared with last year in the three months to the end of July. Output per head was up 1.1%, and has only just recovered to its value at the beginning of 1995.
Figures from the EEF show signs of slackening in pay settlements, after running ahead of inflation since autumn 1995. The average settlement in the three months to July was 3.17% compared with an RPI rise of 3.3%, though in August the monthly average edged up again to 3.58% compared with an RPI increase of 3.5%.
Employment services company Manpower reports that 32% of employers in the general engineering sector anticipate increasing staff in the three months to the end of December, compared with 8% predicting a decrease. The figures are taken from a survey of more than 2,300 employers.