Worcester’s MP Robin Walker has welcomed another record breaking set of UK employment numbers, and national unemployment falling to an eleven year low, combined with a second consecutive month of falling unemployment in Worcester. The city remains on track to see its lowest year on record in terms of unemployment with the percentage of people claiming out of work benefits staying at 1.6%.

Worcester’s claimant count stood at 1,025 in October down from 1,035 the month before and slightly up on the 930 figure it reached in the same period last year. For each of the last eight months it has stood at 1.6% of the working age population and the rate of unemployment has barely changed throughout 2016 so far.

In contrast the previous year it moved between 1.8% and the all time record low of 1.3%, averaging just over 1.6% for the year as a whole. Historic figures show that these rates are exceptionally low and they compare with a rate of 3.3% at the start of 2013 or 3.7% on average for 2010, the year that Robin became MP for Worcester. Since figures first started to be compiled on this basis the average rate of unemployment in Worcester ranged from a high of 7.5% in 1993 to a low of 1.75% in 2003-4 but never reached such a low level as it has been in the last two years.

Robin also welcomed a fall in youth unemployment for Worcester from 265 last month to 260 this month and a fall in the rate of unemployment for women in Worcester to just 1%, half the rate it stood at in August 2013.

Nationally the latest figures suggest that wages continue to outstrip inflation with a surprise fall in the inflation rate to 0.9% but wages including bonuses raising by 2.3% against a year earlier. Those at the lower end of the wage range have been seeing the biggest increases in their pay thanks to the Government’s policy of raising the national minimum wage and aiming for a national living wage.

The figures also show that more than three quarters of all the new jobs being created nationally are full time jobs, with the latest quarterly analysis suggesting that 350,000 more full time jobs were created in comparison to 110,000 part time.

Robin has recently met with staff at the Worcester Job Centre and attended a jobs fair that they organised with a large number of local and national employers who are recruiting in the city. He also recently met with local recruitment firms to discuss the employment market and with their trade body, the REC, to hear their views on the outlook for employment. In his capacity as a Minister in the Department for Exiting the EU he is regularly engaging with a wide range of businesses across different sectors in the economy and he has welcomed major investment announcements from the likes of Nissan, Astrazeneca and Google.

Commenting on all this Robin said:

“I am always delighted to see a strong set of jobs numbers for Worcester and I welcome the contrast between the cheering figures we see today and the dark picture we saw back in 2010. Some of the fears that were expressed in the referendum debate have not come to pass and that is welcome but we must keep up the work to ensure we minimise the risks and grab the opportunities in this process. Employment in the UK is higher than ever and in Worcester we look set for what will be narrowly the best year ever for our jobs market. The fact that the only other year that comes close was last year is a good reminder of how far we have come.”

“It has been good to hear from local employers and recruiters that the outlook for the jobs market remains strong and that the number one concern of business is attracting the right talent. That will help to ensure we can keep driving up wages and keeping the unemployment figures low. Of course we must never take these things for granted and we must keep working to make sure the UK is the best place in the world to start, grow and invest in a business.”

“We must keep up the drive for apprenticeships which more than doubled in the last Parliament and where I want to see further growth locally, we must keep up investment in skills and support for the businesses who invest in their staff. We need to keep working on infrastructure to make Worcester and even more attractive place to invest and to be. The last two years have seen some remarkably good economic data with more jobs, higher wages beating the rate of inflation and a resilient local economy. I would like to see all this continue and will work hard to ensure that it does.”

 

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 press releases on unemployment:

https://www.walker4worcester.com/?s=unemployment

To read the Department for Work and Pensions’ release:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/unemployment-rate-falls-to-11-year-low