Employment could grow by half a million in 2014, triggering a review of the Bank of England’s monetary policy earlier than expected, a report has predicted.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development said the increase in employment in 2013, which saw a record 30 million people in work by the end of the year, was set to continue.
Chief economist Mark Beatson said there was a “high likelihood” that employment will rise by more than 300,000 during 2014, and even by as much as 500,000.
The improving jobs market could push unemployment below seven per cent, the rate at which the Bank could rethink interest rates, leading to a review of current monetary policy earlier than expected, said the report.
Mr Beatson noted that 2013 was the fifth year in a row when average earnings fell in real terms, which was “unprecedented” in at least the last 70 years. He added: “This time last year we were talking about the UK’s ‘jobs enigma’.
“Since then, labour market performance has continued to exceed expectations.
“And this has turned the UK labour market into a jobs machine.
“Employment growth looks set to continue at an impressive rate over the year to come.
“However, the downside is that UK productivity has yet to improve and remains below its pre-recession level.
“A lot of attention is being given to falling real wages and the UK’s ‘cost of living crisis’, for understandable reasons.
“But not enough attention is given to the main reason why this has happened - that productivity has fallen since 2008.
“Skills shortages in certain sectors may inflate wages for some.
“But if we are to create any realistic prospect of wages rising in real terms across the board, we need to improve productivity.”