Unemployment rate in East Midlands rises to highest since October 2021

The East Midlands’ unemployment rate has risen to its highest level in almost 18 months, new figures by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show.
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It was 3.7 per cent in the three months to March 2023, up by two-tenths of a percentage point compared to a month earlier, although still below the national average of 3.9 per cent.

More significantly, this was the highest level recorded in the ONS’ regional labour market figures since the August to October 2021 period, when it was 4.2 per cent.

Scott Knowles, East Midlands Chamber chief executive, said: “While the region’s unemployment rate remains at historically low levels and about two per cent below its pandemic peak, it has been very slowly rising over the past six months.

Scott Knowles, East Midlands Chamber chief executiveScott Knowles, East Midlands Chamber chief executive
Scott Knowles, East Midlands Chamber chief executive
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“This indicates we must not get complacent about the relatively low unemployment rate, which if anything has masked a series of troubling trends facing firms when it comes to recruitment.

“Businesses continue to face a myriad of cost pressures and despite displaying incredible resilience over the past few years, this was always going to be unsustainable and we are seeing their ability to grow being stifled.”

Meanwhile, the region’s economic inactivity rate, which measures the number of working-age people who have dropped out of the labour market for reasons such as retirement, caring duties, long-term ill health or studying, decreased for the third month running, this time by half a percentage point to 21.4 per cent.

This is the lowest figure over the past 12 months but remains above the UK average at 21 per cent.