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.
With the publication of December’s figures it is official that Worcester has seen its lowest year on record in terms of unemployment with the percentage of people claiming out of work benefits at 1.5% at the end of the year. Whilst this is a small increase from the figure at the end of last year, what has been remarkable about 2016 is that there is no month in which the figure has risen above 1.6%, a record for the length of time that unemployment has stayed so low. Worcester is outperforming both the national and regional levels of employment and the latest figure for claimants is half what it was in August 2013.
Youth unemployment has also fallen since December 2016 with only 2% of people under the age of 25 claiming out of work benefits. Youth unemployment in the city has fallen from a peak of over 800 under Labour to 230 in the latest figures.
Nationally, today’s statistics show the start of the New Year with another highly encouraging set of figures. Employment continues to run at a near-record high, unemployment remains at an 11-year low and both figures are stronger than this time last year – highlighting the strength and resilience of the UK labour market since June’s referendum.
This good news applies across the country, with the female employment rate hitting a new record high, and the rate of young people not in work or full time education at a record low of 5.3%. There are 294,000 more people in work compared to this time last year.
Unemployment continues to fall; down 52,000 on the quarter and down over 900,000 since 2010, with long-term unemployment the lowest since mid-2008.
Crucially strong figures for wage growth mean that the rise in average wages continues to outstrip inflation. With the national living wage set to increase in April this trend should be accelerated.
“This is another set of strong job figures for Worcester. When first I became MP for Worcester I said that I would love to see unemployment below 1,000. At the time many people would have found that an unbelievable target but now it is once again clearly in sight. For four months of 2015 we saw the lowest unemployment figures in Worcester’s history and with a little more effort I think we can see such figures once again in 2017. I am delighted that 2016 saw few of the seasonal changes that we would usually expect and that unemployment remained low throughout the year but I am always keen to be more ambitious.”
“By targeting support to those who are furthest from work – particularly people with disabilities who want to work I believe we can go even further. Last year I held my first disability confident event and I would be delighted to hold another one with local employers in 2017. National figures show that the employment gap for people with disabilities is closing but the Government has set a bold ambition to halve it. In Worcester with our fantastic accessible facilities and excellent local employers, I believe we can lead the way.”
“When we won the 2015 General Election one of the key reasons people voted Conservative was because we had delivered growth in jobs consistently since 2010. In Worcester unemployment had halved and apprenticeships had more than doubled. We must continue to be ambitious both in driving apprenticeship take up and ensuring that everyone who wants a job can get one. We also need to continue to ensure we make work pay.”
Notes to Editors:
For the latest job figures for Worcester and comparable historical data visit:
For Robin’s previous press releases on unemployment:
To read more from the Department for Work and Pensions on today’s figures: