Worcester MP Robin Walker has today welcomed the release of the latest labour market statistics showing that unemployment in the city remained below 1,000 for the fourth consecutive month in October – only the second time on record that these lows have been sustained for so long.

At 975 there has been a small increase in the claimant count on the previous month, but the rate remains at 1.5% of the working-age population. The claimant rate has now been at 1.6% or below in Worcester for over two years.

Nationally employment remains at a near record high, with 32 million people in work. Increases in full-time and permanent work are behind the figures. In the last year the number of people on zero hours contracts has fallen by 20,000.

Today’s employment figures also show

  • the number of people in employment has increased by more than 3 million since 2010
  • the UK has the third highest employment rate in the G7
  • the number of workers aged 50+ has almost reached 10 million – a record level
  • youth unemployment has fallen by over 40% since 2010
  • there are a near record 780,000 vacancies in the economy at any one time
  • the proportion of young people who are unemployed and not in full time education remains below 5%

Youth unemployment in Worcester fell slightly on the previous month in October, going down to 220 or 1.9% of 18-24 year olds. The youth unemployment rate has remained low in the city, having now been below 2% since December last year.

The news comes as it was announced by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) that the UK’s productivity levels have improved at the fastest rate for more than six years. Output per hour, the ONS’ main measure of labour productivity, increased by 0.9 per cent in the three months to September, the fastest rate of growth since the second quarter of 2011.

Minister for Employment, Damian Hinds said:

“The strength of the economy is driving an increase in full-time, permanent jobs and a near-record number of people are now in work thanks to the government’s welfare reforms.”

“When unemployment fell to 5% early last year, many people thought it couldn’t get much lower, and yet it now stands at 4.3%.”

“Everyone should be given the opportunity to find work and enjoy the stability of a regular pay packet. We’ve cut income tax for 30 million people since 2010, meaning people keep more of their money each month.”

Commenting on the latest figures, Robin said:

“It is fantastic news that Worcester has managed to sustain such a consistently low unemployment rate, with the figures from October being only the second time since records began that local unemployment has remained under 1,000 for four consecutive months. If that is maintained in November then that will mark a record period of sustained progress on tackling joblessness.”

“With the majority of the increases in employment coming from full-time, permanent work, and with average hourly earnings in Worcester continuing to out-perform the national average, this puts paid to the notion proposed by some that these figures have only come about through precarious employment. The reality is that the opposite is true – with 20,000 fewer workers on zero hour contracts this year, this type of work represents an increasingly tiny proportion of the workforce.”

“With more vacancies opening in some sectors in the run-up to Christmas, I am confident we will see these trends continuing in the coming months.”


Notes to editors

For the latest employment statistics from the ONS, please see: https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/reports/lmp/wpca/1929380363/report.aspx#tabwab

For Robin’s previous statements on employment, please see: