East Midlands chamber of commerce appeals for Government support after a rise in employment

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The number of people in work across the East Midlands rose in the three months to the end of November according to figures released this morning.

Latest regional data from the Office for National Statistics showed that the number of people employed during the period went up by 28,870, from 2,239,765 in the quarter to the end of August to 2,268,635.

And the number of people registered as unemployed fell by 816 from 98,161 to the end of August to 97,345.

The figures are in line with national statistics which showed a record 32.2 million people in work (75.3per cent) for the quarter, a rise of 415,000 on a year earlier.

Regionally, the employment rate rose from 58.9per cent to 59.6per cent quarter-on-quarter, but was slightly down on the 60.4per cent recorded a year earlier.

Nationally, unemployment is at its lowest level since 1975.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Esther McVey, said: “We had a record-breaking 2017 for employment and I’m delighted to see this trend continue as we enter the new year.

“The number of people in work is at an all-time high and the unemployment rate has not been this low for over 40 years.”

Regional figures show the unemployment rate at the end of November was 4.1per cent, 0.1per cent down on the previous quarter.

The number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance across Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire saw a slight fall in December when compared with November, down 30 from 31,595 to 31,565.

Chris Hobson, Director of Policy at East Midlands Chamber, said: “The national position remained very strong as 2017 ended but we have seen month-on-month variations regionally in employment levels and in claimant counts across Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire.

“There are reports that Tesco and Sainsbury’s are cutting thousands of jobs nationally from their stores and Carillion’s collapse, which will send shockwaves through its huge UK supply chain, happened after these figures were collated.

“Without wishing to rain on the Government’s parade, there are changing trends in the ways businesses are working and also significant inflationary pressures being faced by employers at the moment, not least being the latest rise in the National Living Wage in April, which will force them to make difficult decisions about how they balance their books.

“Here in the East Midlands we are very good at making things and shipping them to global markets, second only to London and the South East in terms of contribution to the national economy, but for far too long we have succeeded despite Government policies rather than because of the help given to the region.

“Government needs to start looking at ways of cutting the upfront costs of doing business and to make sure the East Midlands gets its fair share of investment, particularly infrastructure investment such as electrification of the Midland Main Line, to ensure it can continue to make a positive contribution to UK plc.”