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UK employers losing economic confidence amid Brexit worries

UK job opportunities are diminishing as British employers’ confidence to hire and invest has fallen to its lowest level since last year’s referendum to leave the European Union, according to a new report.

Data from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) found confidence in making hiring and investment decisions fell to its lowest level since just after the Brexit vote in June 2016.

The REC report said that 31 percent of companies expect the UK economy to worsen, compared with 28 percent who think it will improve.

REC chief executive Kevin Green said the drop in confidence should raise a “red flag” and push London to clarify its Brexit approach.

“The government must do more to create an environment where businesses have clarity,” Green said. “The jobs market is in a good place but employers will only continue to hire and invest if they feel assured about the future.”

The report comes less than a week before Britain resumes talks with the EU on its exit from the bloc, with both sides in disagreement over how soon they can start negotiating a new trade agreement.

The chance of a successful withdrawal and transition arrangement being agreed between the UK and the EU has fallen, Oxford Economics said in a report published Wednesday.

“The UK has made little attempt to progress separation issues, while its ideas for transition could require yet more negotiation and risk eroding the benefits of transitional arrangements for business,” said Andrew Goodwin, a researcher at Oxford Economics.

About one in four people in Britain who voted for Brexit believe they were misled by the Leave campaign and more Britons would vote to stay in the EU if a second referendum was held, a new poll by Opinium has found.

Nearly 52 percent of Britons opted to leave the bloc during the EU referendum in June last year.

The opening rounds of Brexit talks with the EU, which began in June, have made little progress, with European negotiators demanding greater clarity from the UK delegation.

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