Robin Walker, MP for Worcester, has celebrated today’s lowest ever unemployment figures for Worcester and the first time since records began that the number of claimants in the city has dropped below 900. The sharp fall in the claimant count between October and November even after last months figures set a new record low means that the rate of unemployment in Worcester is now nearing 1%. Since Robin was elected in 2010 the overall unemployment rate has fallen from 3.9% to 1.3%. This means that the rate of unemployment is now a third of what it was at the time of the 2010 election.

Robin who has always campaigned to support local businesses and served on the BIS Select Committee in the last Parliament, is working with the Secretary of State for Education to support a careers and enterprise strategy to increase the opportunities for young people. He recently welcomed the Government’s plan to deliver 3 million apprenticeships and an increase in the number being started in Worcester but he has called for even more to be delivered in the future. As an active member of the all party groups for Apprenticeships and Youth Employment Robin was particularly pleased to see the youth claimant count also hit its lowest level on record at 185, meaning it has now fallen by more than three quarters from its peak under Labour. In the Summer of 2009 this figure hit 805 and it has since fallen dramatically, hitting a new low of 235 last month, the further fall of 50 means that 21% of claimants from October were no longer out of work in November and that youth unemployment is down 41% in a single year.

Other major categories of unemployment have also fallen with the number of people claiming JSA for more than a year down to 220, half its rate 18 months ago and down by 81% since April 2010. The number of people over 50 claiming JSA has fallen by more than half since it peaked and  is down over 10% since last year but up slightly on the month, rising from 205 to 225.

Commenting Robin said:

“I am delighted that unemployment continues to fall in Worcester and is achieving new record lows. I am determined to see this progress continue and want to celebrate, not just a set of statistics but the difference that finding work and being able to support themselves and their families makes for people’s lives. When I first became an MP I expressed my determination to clear up Labour’s legacy of unemployment in Worcester and particularly to focus on opportunities for young people. The fact that more than 3 out of every 4 youth claimants are no longer unemployed is excellent progress but I am still ambitious to see youth unemployment eliminated from our city.”

“With the latest Manpower survey pointing towards an acceleration in recruitment in 2016 and the Government’s welcome drive to create 3 million apprenticeships of which I would like to see at least 15,000 in Worcestershire, there is no reason to think we cannot go further. With Worcester’s High Street fuller and more busy than ever and more investment coming to our city in the coming year, we have a great opportunity to take these figures even further.”

“Along with rising employment I want to see a pay rise for more people in Worcester and it is good to see that pay growth continues to run well ahead of inflation. With lower fuel prices and a significant increase to the minimum wage due in April, I am hopeful that Worcester’s economy will continue to benefit.”

Notes to Editors:

For detailed figures on the claimant count in Worcester see:

Manpower’s latest UK employment survey showed 8% of employers expecting to increase their staffing levels in 2016 whilst just 3% expected to reduce them

For Robin’s previous commentary on this issue see: