Unemployment in the East Midlands is better than the national average

Unemployment in the East Midlands continues to be better than the national average, latest figures show.

Quarterly data released this morning by the Office for National Statistics revealed unemployment at 4.3 per cent across the country for the three months to the end of July, the best since 1975.

In the East Midlands, unemployment for the three months to the end of July was 3.91 per cent , better than the previous quarter, a year and two years earlier.

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Employment rates nationally, at 75.3 per cent for the three months, were the highest since records began in 1971.

In the East Midlands, the employment rate for the period for people aged 16+ was 59.01 per cent , slightly down on the previous quarter, year and two years’ figures.

The increase in the national figure, according to Government, is due to people of all ages finding work, with employment levels of those over 50 reaching a record high, youth unemployment falling by over 40 per cent since 2010 and the proportion of young people who are unemployed and not in full time education dropping below five per cent for the first time.

The record figures were driven by increases in full-time and permanent work. In the past year, Government said, there was a shift from part-time to full-time employment and 20,000 fewer people on zero hour contracts.

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“Today’s figures support the very latest data from our own Quarterly Economic Surveys which show that in the past three months 35 per cent of firms increased their workforce and only 12 per cent of firms reduced theirs,” said Chris Hobson, Director of Policy at East Midlands Chamber*.

He added: “Of those that recruited, 64 per cent said it was to cope with business growth but, worryingly, 59 per cent said they had difficulty finding people to fill skilled manual, professional, managerial, clerical, unskilled and semi-skilled positions.

“And that’s a problem that will only worsen as, despite the uncertainty of Brexit and having a Government without an overall majority, firms continue to grow and the available pool of potential workers keeps getting smaller.

“It’s imperative now that every effort is made to ensure the available workforce has the skills employers need and that those leaving academia have at least the basic maths, English and problem-solving skills that will make them employable.

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“What today’s figures really do is confirm the need for a sensible, long-term strategy for linking education policy to the needs of business and, more immediately, ensuring we don’t hamstring ourselves with an overly restrictive immigration policy as we come out of the EU.”

The figures released this morning showed the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in August increased across Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire when compared with July, with only Leicester city showing no monthly change.