Worcester’s MP, Robin Walker, has welcomed news that the unemployment rate in Worcester continued to fall in the past month, dropping to 1,000 in May, or 1.5% - the lowest it has been since January 2016.
This mirrors the rise in employment nationally, with official figures showing the nationwide employment rate is at a joint record high of 74.8%, with 31.95million people now in work. The rise has been driven by full-time work with average weekly earnings up 2.1% including bonuses. Although there are no monthly figures for wage growth, the latest figures for pay published at the end of 2016 showed wages for people living in Worcester overtaking the national average for the first time in a decade. Meanwhile there are 50,000 fewer unemployed people since last year, with the national unemployment figure remaining at its lowest rate since 1975 at 4.6%.
The figures show the claimant count in Worcester is 55 lower than May 2016, and marks the 24th consecutive month in which the rate of unemployment has been 1.6% or below, and it has been below 2% – a figure which the International Labour Organisation defines as full employment - for the last two and a half years. When Robin was first elected unemployment in Worcester stood at 2,545 or around 5% and it has fallen by more than 60% since that time.
National figures published today also showed that the female employment rate is at a joint record high of 70.2%, with nearly 15 million women in work, the unemployment rate for 18 to 24 year olds who have left full time education is 10.7% – a joint record low, and there are around 770,000 vacancies in the economy at any one time.
Following the release of this month’s figures, Robin said: “I am delighted to see this trend in Worcester’s labour market strength continue – this month marks the 2 year anniversary of unemployment in the city being at 1.6% or below.
“When I first became MP for Worcester and the city was just beginning to recover from Labour’s recession, I set out to support businesses in reducing unemployment by half, and when that was done I targeted bringing it down to 1,000.
“Additionally, the youth unemployment count is down 6% from this time last year, and this is an area I am particularly keen to see continued improvement in. I am proud that during my time as MP the number of apprenticeships has doubled but there is still further to go in driving it higher and driving up the quality of apprenticeships alongside the quantity."