Unemployment rates fall as more people find local jobs

Job Centre plus, St John's Street, Stamford. File picture'Photo: MSMP200812-091js ENGEMN00120120820131941
Job Centre plus, St John's Street, Stamford. File picture'Photo: MSMP200812-091js ENGEMN00120120820131941
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Employment is at a record high in the East Midlands with a significant fall in the number of people claiming out of work benefits and a decline in the total number of people out of work in the area.

The figures released on Wednesday by the Office for National Statistics show a large increase in employment. The total number of people in the East Midlands in employment rose by 11,709 in the three months to November - an increase of 49,750 on the same period in 2013.

The number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) has fallen in both Stamford and Rutland. In Stamford the total number of people claiming JSA fell by 30.5 per cent, from 707 in December 2013 to 492 in December 2014. In Rutland the total fall was 19.5 per cent, from 190 to 153 for the same period.

The number of people aged 18 to 24 claiming JSA fell by 50 per cent in Rutland, from 40 to 20, and in Stamford there was a decline of 34.3 per cent from 175 to 115.

Portfolio holder for development at Rutland County Council Terry King (Con) said: “The national fall in unemployment is welcome news and something that is certainly reflected here in Rutland.

“Latest figures show the percentage of Rutland residents who are economically active is above average for the wider East Midlands area, while the number of people claiming JSA in the county has fallen steadily since 2013. In fact, this figure represents less than one per cent of our total work age population.

“All this serves to underline the county’s fantastic economic credentials and the hard work of local businesses and staff. The council is supporting businesses with projects such as Oakham Enterprise Park and Digital Rutland to give them the infrastructure they need to grow.”

MP for Stamford and Bourne Nick Boles (Con) said: “This year has started with lots of good news for the British economy. Unemployment has fallen by 370,800 over the last year and more people have jobs than ever before. Three quarters of the 1.75 million new jobs created since 2010 are full time jobs.”

The East Midlands Chamber, which represents businesses in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire, has welcomed the news, but says firms are still struggling to recruit skilled staff.

Head of information and representation Chris Hobson said: “Today’s employment figures are once again extremely positive and show that significant progress has been made in getting more people off jobseekers’ benefits and into work.

“However, this growth in employment could be even better as many businesses are still telling the chamber that they experience difficulties in finding suitably skilled workers.

“The results of our latest quarterly economic survey showed that about two thirds of firms - twice as many as in the same quarter of 2013 - struggled to recruit people with the skills they need.”

Michelle Simpson of Jobcentre Plus said: “The figures for the area are really positive, it’s mirroring the national trend which means we’re going in the right direction.”

Jobcentre Plus will launch a number of local initiatives this year to help the rise in employment continue. Proposed events include money management taster sessions, a digital breakfast with local employers and a pilot event teaching older people techniques.