Worcester’s MP, Robin Walker, has taken notice of a second month of increases in the local claimant count and warned that it shows there is no room for complacency on the economy. The overall number of claimants in Worcester rose to just above 1000, an increase of 65 on the previous month and the youth claimant count rose to 225, an increase of 35. Both figures however are significantly down on the last year with overall unemployment down 18% and youth unemployment down 31%. The overall unemployment figure in Worcester dropped below 1,000 for the first time in a decade in October 2015 and youth unemployment dropped below 200 for the first time ever in December 2015. Robin is keen to see both figures back below these levels.

Whilst the figures show rises in the claimant count during January and February of 2016 after a record run of reductions towards the end of last year, there have been a number of positive announcements locally looking forward. This week Waitrose announced that it has started recruitment for 100 positions in Worcester and last week Npower confirmed that despite cutting back elsewhere in the country, it would be recruiting around 70 new staff in and around Worcester. With the Government’s commitment to accelerating and increasing the number of apprentices Robin is keen to ensure that Worcestershire gets its fair share of growth in this area and in National Apprenticeship week, he will be doing all he can to boost the recruitment and retention of apprentices locally.

Robin will be holding a Disability Confident event to promote employment opportunities for people with disabilities at the Guildhall in April and local businesses including Sanctuary Housing and Dolphin Computer Access are lining up to support the event. Today he will be welcoming Worcestershire Apprentices to Parliament on the day of the 2016 budget and supporting the Government in its ambition to achieve 3 million apprenticeships nationally, which Robin has targeted to back with 15,000 in Worcestershire.

Commenting on the job figures Robin said:

“It is always a concern to see unemployment figures rise and I am disappointed to have seen a second month of increases but with the unemployment rate at 1.5% it is still close to record lows. I am pleased that more businesses are recruiting in Worcester and that Waitrose in particular will be offering not only jobs but a chance to employees to be partners in the John Lewis Partnership. I am confident that we can see unemployment come down again to the record low levels we have seen over recent months and I am determined to do all I can as Worcester’s MP to support this.”

“Apprenticeships have been a real positive in Worcester and it is no coincidence that in the same period we have seen youth unemployment halved, we have seen the number of apprenticeship opportunities more than double. It is particularly appropriate that on the day of a 2016 budget focused on education and skills I should also be celebrating National Apprenticeship week with local apprentices. I want to make sure that more people from Worcester benefit from the opportunity to earn and learn and that the opportunities apprenticeships can provide make a long term contribution to employment in our city. I hope today’s budget can contribute to this further.”

Notes to editors:

For the latest job figures for Worcester and comparable historical data visit:

https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/reports/lmp/wpca/1929380363/report.aspx?town=Worcester

For Robin’s previous statements on jobs and apprenticeships see:

https://www.walker4worcester.com/lwalker-urges-business-to-get-involved-in-national-apprenticeship-week-2016-as-government-announces-more-support-higher-standards/

https://www.walker4worcester.com/robin-lends-his-support-to-the-parliamentary-100-in-100-apprenticeships-campaign/

https://www.walker4worcester.com/national-picture-strong-for-jobs-and-economic-outlook-as-worcester-rises-up-rankings/

https://www.walker4worcester.com/latest-jobs-figures-set-new-records-for-city-and-county/