Skip to content

Entrepreneurs Panel

Michael Oliver
Brian Hay
Laura Tenison
David Pollock
Julie Meyer
Steve Purdham
Tony Caldeira
Jennie Johnson
Charlie Mullins
Debbie Pierce
Richard O'Sullivan
Jeremy Roberts

Unemployment drops 28,000 to 1.68m

Unemployment fell by 28,000 between November and January to 1.68m.

The Office for National Statistics said there were 31.4m people in work during the quarter, 116,000 more than August to October and nearly half a million (478,0000) higher year-on-year.

There were 22.94m people working full-time, up by 302,000 on a year earlier. Another 8.48m people were working part-time, up by 177,000.

Average weekly earnings increased by 2.1 per cent including bonuses and by 2.2 per cent excluding bonuses compared with a year earlier.

Commenting on the figures, Mike Cherry, director of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: "Unemployment is historically low, but we are seeing a slowdown in recruitment and the persistence of weak wage growth. This should be taken as a warning sign that businesses are starting to become concerned about a number of emerging economic headwinds.

"Small businesses are dealing with a growing number of new or unexpected costs, including higher than expected minimum wage increases, auto-enrolment deadlines and changes to how dividends are taxed. To meet these challenges, employers are looking for ways to keep costs down and this is translating into slower than expected wage growth.

"Our members will be watching closely as the Chancellor delivers his Budget later today, listening out to see if he recognises the challenges they are facing. To boost productivity and raise wages, smaller firms need real progress on business rates, a firm commitment to simplification of the tax system and crucial investment in roads and broadband."

  • Kathryn Parsons, co-founder of Decoded, started with little more than faith and determination, but four years later it’s grown into a global business. Ahead of her appearance at Accelerate 2015 in...

  • Author, writer and marketer Ryan Holiday on how entrepreneurs need to interpret failure.

  • Sue Vizard, business coach and author of Jump Start: The Start-up Book for Your Dream Business, looks at some of the questions solo entrepreneurs should ask themselves.

  • Ian Wright, founder and chief executive of, is bringing together SMEs and NEDs - without the hefty recruitment fees.

  • Former professional golfer turned entrepreneur Colin Stevens has had a busy 18 months. The Better Bathrooms founder has increased turnover at the firm, secured a multi-million pound investment and...

Five Minutes With

David Hughes sums up his entrepreneurial career to date thus: four spectacular successes and two failures. He founded the sports retailer Allsports and achieved turnover of £180 million before a vicious price war meant decline, administration in 2005 and a sell-off to rival JD Sports.

It took Richard Shonn, managing director of 151 Products, three years to find a warehouse big enough for his requirements.