Hucknall: Business chiefs say Government must get serious about jobs in East Midlands

The East Midlands’ unemployment rate has risen for the second month in a row – although it remains in historically low territory.
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The 3.1 per cent rate for the period between June and August 2022 – which is below the 3.5 per cent UK national average – marked its highest figure in seven months.

Meanwhile, the region’s economic inactivity rate – which measures the number of working-age people who have dropped out of the labour market – increased from 21.9 per cent to a record-high of 22.6 per cent.

Scott Knowles, chief executive of business body the East Midlands Chamber, said: “Although the unemployment rate remains at historic low levels, the fact it is creeping up should be a cause for slight concern.

The East Midlands' unemployment rate has risen for the second month in a rowThe East Midlands' unemployment rate has risen for the second month in a row
The East Midlands' unemployment rate has risen for the second month in a row

“Our research shows about four in 10 East Midlands firms have been at full operating capacity over the past half year and while two-thirds have attempted to grow via recruitment, at least four in five of this cohort have struggled to fill roles.

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"Should this continue for much longer, we can expect to see more firms deciding to tighten their belts to get through difficult times, with a resulting negative impact on the job market.

“If Government is serious about growth, it needs to get serious about jobs.

"There are key reforms it should adopt to help ease tightness in the labour market.

“These include supporting greater business investment in workforce training, adopting flexible working practices, expanding the use of apprenticeships, and a comprehensive reform of the Shortage Occupation List to allow sectors facing urgent demand for skills to get what they need.”