From a jobs point of view this has been a funny recession.

Not funny haha, of course, losing your job is never funny; but funny peculiar.  Whichever way you look at it, job loses have been less than we were expecting. A lot less.

Now a report from The Chartered Institute of Personnel has thrown some light on what is going on.  Be warned, it is not pretty.

In fact it is like one of those films, an Indiana Jones film perhaps. Harrison Ford and the girl are scampering about in the dark. Ford light a torch only to reveal an army of disgusting creatures the very thought of which makes your hairs stand on end.

The good news, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel is that a high proportion of people who lost their jobs during the recession, found a new one rapidly. The bad news, no less than two thirds of people who were made redundant were paid 28 per cent less money when they finally found a new job.

It seems that from one point of view the flexible labour market has been the UK’s big saviour in the recession.  Maybe this shows how the UK has come on over the last 25 years. Labour is more mobile, more willing to try different ideas. In that sense we could say the performance of the jobs market in the recession represents a triumph of Thatcherism.

On the other hand, in an economy where consumer debt is so massive, it is very worrying when large swathes of the job force start receiving lower salaries.

You can contrast this with France. Across the channel, the labour market is high inflexible. As a result, unemployment stayed high during the boom.  On the other hand, during the recession the labour market suffered a less severe jolt.

Whether that is good or bad, however, is another matter.

© Investment & Business News 2013