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Jobless figure at five-year low
NEW figures released by the Office for National Statistics today show the number of people claiming jobseeker’s allowance in Worcester has fallen to its lowest in five years, to just 1,692.
The last time the figure was as low was in November 2008, just before the global economic downturn.
The figures were used by the Prime Minister David Cameron in the House of Commons this afternoon to show that Worcester is on the up.
During Prime Minister’s Questions, city MP Robin Walker said there are “1,000 fewer people out of work in Worcester than when unemployment peaked” in 2009.
Mr Cameron responded by saying: “It’s welcome news what is happening in Worcester, and of course across the country.
“Not only is unemployment down but vacancies are up, which is good news for the future.”
The current number means Worcester remains below the national average for claimants with 2.6 per cent of the working population getting the allowance compared with 2.9 per cent nationally.
Of the Worcester figure, 1,132 claimants are men and 560 are women.
The number of people claiming jobseeker’s allowance in Worcester has fallen steadily since the beginning of the year.
In February, 2,318 people were claiming with figures dropping each month.
In Worcestershire as a whole last month, 7,636 people claimed the allowance, representing 2.2 per cent of the adult working population.
This figure has fallen by 5,633 since its peak in August 2009.
“This is welcome news and is further evidence that Worcestershire's economy continues to strengthen,” said Councillor Simon Geraghty, Worcestershire County Council's deputy leader and cabinet member for economy, skills and infrastructure.
“However, while these figures are good, we need to take seasonal factors into consideration and must not be complacent.”
A Worcester recruitment firm, meanwhile, says jobseekers are beginning to be “braver”.
“We have found that although there is still generally a skills shortage, jobseekers are definitely starting to be braver and beginning to ‘dip their toes in the job market waters,” said Kate Turnbull, senior consultant at Hewett Recruitment on Foregate Street.
“The market is also becoming more ambitious - we have seen more ‘brand new’ vacancies as a result of company expansions as opposed to organisations merely recruiting to replace employees that are exiting the business.”
Across the country the unemployment rate has fallen by 99,000 to 2.39 million - a four-year low.
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