East Midlands’ unemployment figures increase

Pictured at Explore Industrial Park are from left, Scott Knowles from the East Midlands Chamber of Commcerce, Stephen Harley from Laing O'Rourke, John Holland-Kaye from Heathrow, Andy Tuscher from EEF and Alan Clucas also of Laing O'Rourke.
Pictured at Explore Industrial Park are from left, Scott Knowles from the East Midlands Chamber of Commcerce, Stephen Harley from Laing O'Rourke, John Holland-Kaye from Heathrow, Andy Tuscher from EEF and Alan Clucas also of Laing O'Rourke.

The number of people unemployed in the East Midlands increased over the three months to the end of 2016 compared with the previous year, but remains better than the national average, according to new figures.

The Office for National Statistics released a report showing the unemployment rate for October to December 2016 increased by 0.2 per cent to 4.7 per cent, compared to a UK rate of 4.8 per cent.

At 75.7 per cent the employment rate in the region remained above the national average of 74.6 per cent.

The rise in unemployment was accompanied by growth in the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance across Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire.

In January 2017 there were 29,510 Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants across the three counties, compared with 28,240 in December, 31,885 in January 2016 and 38,990 in January 2015. Average weekly earnings in the East Midlands have risen to £536, up from £526 one year ago.

Scott Knowles, chief executive East Midlands Chamber, said: “While there will be some seasonal factors at play in the figures, it’s no real surprise to see employment rates in the region begin to level off or fall slightly in the last quarter of 2016. Businesses are still adapting to recent changes in the value of the pound and the uncertainties that go with it, with many reviewing their strategies for growth, including increasing investments in training existing staff and buying newer equipment to meet changing demand levels.

“Our own survey work tells us that issues remain, for those that are recruiting, in sourcing staff with the right skill levels.”