‘The statistics show only a partial picture’

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Reading the economic runes is a tricky business.

Are their green shoots of recovery emerging in Edinburgh and the Lothians? Or are we still in the middle of the biggest economic downturn since the 1920s?

Today, we report that employment opportunities in Edinburgh are improving, with more posts available than any time in the past three-and-a-half years.

Nearly 3400 vacancies were advertised by Jobcentre Plus last month, the joint-highest figure since the start of the recession in 2008.

The city’s economic development leader has hailed the figures as good news – and why not? We need some of that and we need to inject some confidence back into the business sector.

But these new statistics show only a partial picture.

The number of vacancies at Jobcentres is only a fraction of those available on the whole economy. Not all jobs are advertised in this way.

Secondly, the job figures come just a few days after it as confirmed that Scotland has followed the UK into double-dip recession, with a 0.1 per cent fall in gross domestic product during the first three months of 2012.

The Scottish Retail Consortium has also published figures showing sales in our shops are continuing to stagnate and the latest Scottish Chambers of Commerce business survey paints a bleak picture.

In short, there are as many reasons to be pessimistic as there are to be positive.

However, while the overall picture might be blurred, the availability of more jobs is great news for the 18-24 age group, which has suffered more than most during this recession. Giving this group hope, whether through apprenticeships, training schemes or regular jobs is an essential part of overcoming this crisis.

Party time

blazing sunshine like they get in Rio de Janiero was always going to be too much to ask for when it came to the Capital’s inaugural Festival Carnival.

But the weather was fine and everything else seemed to go to plan as big crowds enjoyed the party atmosphere in Princes Street and the 
Gardens.

The demise of the Festivals Cavalcade has been a sore loss to the city, but this event promises to be a worthy addition to the summer calendar.

The entertainment was top class and the occasion was one for the whole family to enjoy together. 
Edinburgh can’t get enough of events like that.

We hope it will be back again next year, only bigger and better.