Businesses struggling to recruit as East Midlands unemployment rate continues to fall

The East Midlands’ unemployment rate has dropped to a fresh record low of 2.5 per cent – now the lowest in the country.

Wednesday, 20th July 2022, 2:49 pm
Updated Wednesday, 20th July 2022, 2:52 pm

For the period between March and May 2022, it was 1.3 per cent below the national average, according to the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) latest regional labour market figures published on July 19.

At the same time, the region’s economic inactivity rate – which measures the proportion of 16 to 64-year-olds who have exited the labour market for reasons such as retirement, caring duties, long-term ill health or studying – fell by a percentage point to 21.2 per cent, having climbed for four consecutive months previously.

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Chris Hobson, East Midlands Chamber director of policy and external affairs. Photo: Averill Photography

Chris Hobson, East Midlands Chamber director of policy and external affairs, said: “These latest statistics show that our region’s businesses are creating plenty of jobs and people are filling them.

"We said throughout the pandemic that firms in sectors most directly affected by restrictions remained viable once they were allowed to trade freely and the data proves this is the case.

“One of the biggest concerns in recent months has been the rising economic inactivity rate.

“This reflects trends in which many workers have left the labour force for reasons such as early retirement and we needed to do more to entice them back.

Unemployment in the East Midlands is now the lowest in the country

“It looks like more people are entering the workforce now but businesses are still telling us they are struggling with recruitment.

“Two-thirds, 66 per cent, of companies attempted to take on new staff in the second quarter of the year but 82 per cent of these struggled to find people, according to our latest quarterly economic survey.

“Four in 10 businesses also told us they are now at full capacity, which strongly suggests they need staff to meet the high demand that is driving inflation.

“We therefore need to find ways of attracting new talent, both at home and from overseas, in a suite of support from Government that also encourages businesses to invest in their infrastructure and people.

“Our research shows investment intentions are down by six per cent compared to the previous quarter for plant and machinery and down by three per cent for training.

“Turning this around would go a long way to making the productivity gains that will begin to release the handbrake on our economy.”