The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics Labour Force Survey (LFS) measure (based on survey respondents rather than business records that other sources commonly use but remains a good indicator of sentiment and the measure used by government for employment statistics) confirms that March 2015 saw a rise in employment to 116,000, a measure not seen since March 2014. This is also a 9,000 increase on December 2014.
The LFS indicates much of this rise is within apparel manufacture which has risen 6,000 in a quarter, arresting declines the previous months although remaining more buoyant than in 2010. Textiles manufacturing also added numbers to stand 3,000 people more employed. Leather manufacturing employment remained steady although the 12,000 employed still remains almost double the mark reported in March 2010 with employment in the leather sector a success story.
Another interesting aspect is that whilst self-employment in the sector has rebounded slightly although remaining well below the December 2013 measure of 30,000 in this employment which at that point in time accounted for almost a third of the entire sector.
However, the story is the large amount of recruitment that seems to have occurred within the sector with 95,000 people now reporting to be an employee. This is a 7,000 increase on the previous quarter and is at a level not seen since December 2010.
The figures did not report any changes in working patterns with part-time working continuing to make up a small proportion of the workforce signifying the working patterns within the sector.