Having already welcomed record breaking figures for unemployment in both Worcester and Worcestershire, Robin has welcomed some encouraging signs on the national situation and the fact that the city continues to outperform the strengthening UK trend. Today he met with international campaign groups on youth employment who were presenting to the all party group and demonstrated how the UK is outperforming many rival economies. He also met with Lloyds bank to discuss their outlook for small business lending. They drew attention to a European report which shows confidence in the UK stronger than any other major European economy and both confidence and increases in bank lending stronger in the UK than in rivals such as France and Germany.

The National jobs figures published today show that across the UK:

Employment: Employment reached a new record high of 74.0% with a record 31.4 million people in work

Work: 588,000 more people are in work than this time last year. Nearly 75% of the rise in employment in the past year is full time and, since 2010, 2/3rds of the rise in employment has been from managerial, professional, and associate professional jobs

Unemployment: The unemployment rate fell to 5.1% – the lowest since early 2006, and long-term unemployment has fallen by 25% over the year to 488,000 – the lowest in 6 years

Women: over a million more women in work than in 2010 taking us to a new record high of 14.66 million and the employment rate of 69.1%

Youth unemployment: the unemployment rate for young people not in full time education is now 5.8%, matching last month’s record low

Pay: Total pay is up 2.0% over the year with private sector wage growth at 2.2%

Today’s national statistics show that 2016 has got off to a very strong start with a record-breaking set of figures across all areas of society. There are now more people in work than ever before, driven by growth in full time work, a record employment rate for women, and the highest proportion of young people in full time study or work ever recorded. Within this context Worcester has risen to be 400th out of 650 UK seats for unemployment, from 344th in April 2015.

The All Party Group on Youth Employment today heard that even though Germany had traditionally outperformed the UK in terms of apprenticeships and job opportunities for young people, the UK is catching up fast and there was strong support for changes to careers advice and destination data to boost apprenticeships. They heard how many European countries are dealing with a crisis of youth unemployment in percentage rates of high double digits. The latest youth claimant rate in Worcester is less than 2%.

The Lloyds Bank meeting, which was attended by a number of MPs including the Shadow Chancellor heard that bank lending had returned to pre-recession levels and that the funding for lending scheme, launched during the financial crisis to sustain lending for small business, had done its job and was no longer required. It included excerpts from a European Commission survey of businesses which showed the UK as one of the strongest economies in Europe and the best performing of the continents large economies when it came to economic outlook and bank lending.

The report showed that 25% of UK businesses felt that the outlook had improved versus just 13% thinking it had got worse, a net positive rating of 13%. The respective net ratings for Germany, Italy and France were +2%, -1% and -25%. Meanwhile it showed that 27% of businesses in the UK felt that bank lending was improving versus 8% saying it was getting worse, a 19% net positive rating. The respective net ratings for Germany, Italy and France being +16%, +6% and -1%.

Commenting on these indications Robin said:

“With wages continuing to grow strongly – 2% over the last year – and a record number of vacancies currently available in the UK economy – it’s clear that this Conservative Government is delivering economic security for the country. We will build on this throughout the coming year by doubling childcare for working parents and introducing the new National Living Wage. It is great to see lending to small businesses strengthening and greater confidence in our business community than in any other major economy in Europe. There is a particularly stark contrast between the bright outlook for the UK and the negative expectations of businesses in socialist France, a country that our opposition want to emulate.”

“Our important welfare reforms are giving more people the security and stability of a pay check and the confidence they are providing for their families. Universal Credit, which 300,000 people have now made a claim to, is providing support to people across the country and ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to get on and succeed in life. I am delighted that Worcester is rising up the tables in terms of employment and want to see even more progress on this front. The contrast between Labour’s dismal record when they left the country in crisis and thousands unemployed here in Worcester could hardly be more stark.”

Notes to editors and useful statistics: 

  • Employment:4 million (up 588,000 over the past year and up by over 2.3 million since 2010)
  • Employment rate:0 per cent (up 1.1 points over the past year and up 3.8 points since 2010)
  • Unemployment:68 million (down 239,000 over the past year and down 835,000 since 2010)
  • Unemployment rate:1 per cent (down 0.8 points over the past year and down 2.9 points since 2010)
  • Claimant count (Jobseeker’s Allowance and Universal Credit not in work): 785,900 in December (down 95,400 on last year and down 708,900 since 2010)
  • Wages – average total pay rose by 2.0 per cent over the last year. Inflation over the same period was close to flat.
  • The employment rate is at the highest in our history – at 74.0 per cent of people aged 16-64.
  • The unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest for nearly a decade – at 5.1 per cent.
  • Private sector employment is up by 2.7 million since 2010.
  • There are more women in work than ever before with 1 million more women in work since 2010, and the number of unemployed women down by 89,000 over the year.
  • The proportion of under-25s who are unemployed and not full-time students is the lowest on record – at 5.8 per cent
  • Among older people (50-64), employment is up 112,000 on the quarter and 261,000 on the year to 8.37 million.
  • The number of long-term unemployed people has fallen by 25 per cent in the last year to 488,000.
  • Vacancies were at 756,000 in the three months to December, up 46,000 on the year and 294,000 since 2010.
  • Labour always try and tell Britain that all these jobs are part-time, insecure and poorly paid – in fact:
    • Almost three-quarters of the growth in employment since 2010 has been full-time.
    • Only 2.4 per cent of people in work are on zero-hours contracts. Unlike the last Labour Government, who did nothing, we have taken action to clamp down on abuses by banning exclusivity contracts.
    • Real wages are continuing to rise strongly
  • The number of unemployed people increased by one million in Labour’s last term in office.
  • The number of people on unemployment benefit rose by 82 per cent in Labour’s last term.
  • Youth unemployment rose by 45 per cent under Labour – meaning young people were not getting the skills they need to get on in life.
  • The number of households where no member had ever worked nearly doubled under Labour

For details of the report on business confidence which is entitled the “Survey on the Access to Finance of Enterprises see: http://ec.europa.eu/DocsRoom/documents/14321/attachments/1/translations/en/renditions/native

The comparative data on outlook and lending appears on pages 69 and 71 of this report respectively.