Worcester’s MP has welcomed a substantial fall in unemployment month on month in the city which sees the lowest overall claimant count since 2004 and in reality the lowest percentage unemployment figure in the records. The overall claimant count in Worcester was 923 for October 2015 with five additional people claiming the universal credit, the combined figure of 928 compares to 1,008 the month before, 1,227 one year ago, 2,545 when Robin Walker first became MP and 2731 when unemployment peaked in the city under Labour. It means that unemployment is down 66% from its peak, 8% in the last month and nearly a quarter in the last year. Although recorded figures for the city show the absolute number was very slightly lower in two months of 2004, the population of Worcester was substantially lower then, the current rate of unemployment is 1.4% and this is lower than it has ever been before.
Youth unemployment has come down even faster with today’s figure of 235 being the lowest figure on record alongside April 2002 when the rate was 2.8%, the rate of youth unemployment is also lower than ever before at just 2.0%. After a few months in which the youth claimant count had stagnated around 260 today’s figures break new ground with a fall of 25 or 9% on the previous month. Youth unemployment in Worcester is down over a quarter in the last year, two thirds since Robin was elected and 71% since it peaked under Labour in Summer 2009. As a member of the All Party Group for Youth Employment and a YEUK #youthfriendlyMP, Robin Walker is particularly keen to champion work opportunities for young people.
The figures also show that long term unemployment, though still a challenge has come down in Worcester with the latest figure standing at 235 people out of work for more than a year, down 5 on the month, 80 on the year and 165 from when Robin was first elected.
For the County of Worcestershire as a whole unemployment has also fallen very substantially with the latest figures setting it at below 4,000 for the first time in recent years, a rate of just 1.1%, unemployment peaked in the County in 2009 at 13,269 or 3.7%, more than three times the rate it is today. Youth unemployment has fallen from 3,950 in 2009 to 935 today, the joint lowest figure on record with July this year.
The introduction of Universal Credit, which has begun in Worcester will mean that more people will be better off in work as the new benefit includes protection to ensure that taking on extra hours or starting to work always leaves people better off. Although it has only just been started and the numbers on the credit are not yet statistically significant, Robin Walker hopes it will make unemployment still lower in the future.
Commenting on the figures Robin Walker said
“These figures are truly remarkable and reflect a positive national trend. More businesses are taking people on, confidence has returned to the economy and both Worcester and Worcestershire are setting new records for the number of people in work. We need to grab the opportunity to make sure as many people as possible have the chance to work and with the number of new investments in the city increasing I am confident that we can go even further. Getting unemployment below 1,000 in Worcester has been a long term goal of mine and it is exciting to see it happen. However the hard work doesn’t stop here, I want everyone who wants a job to be able to find one and therefore I will be working over the months to come to put together a disability confident event to show how more employers could help those with specific challenges find work.