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East Midlands Chamber News

Chamber Reacts To Claimant Count Rise

DNCC Chief Executive George CowcherCommenting on the latest unemployment and JSA claimant count figures released by the Office for National Statistics today, George Cowcher, Chief Executive of the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Although the monthly claimant count for February actually increased, over the year the number of claimants is down by almost 4,500 which is positive news and indicates that even in spite of the economic challenges of the past 12 months, businesses in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire still created jobs.

“It’s also encouraging to see that unemployment has remained steady in the three months to January rather than increasing, as during this time, we’d normally expect to see a spike as seasonal contracts come to an end.

“However, the figures do show that there was a rise both nationally and regionally in the number of 18-24-year-old claimants and with youth unemployment remaining so high, this is an issue that the Government must address without delay.

“More focus still needs to be placed on arming our young people with the skills they need to compete in the job market. Closer attention should be paid to boosting STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) skills in schools and colleges, promoting apprenticeships and programmes which improve the ‘soft’ life skills – such as teamwork, communication, initiative and punctuality – that employers place great value on.”

David Kirkham, speaking on behalf of the Nottinghamshire: City and County Employment and Skills Board, added: “It is disappointing to see that the JSA claimant count for Nottingham and Nottinghamshire has continued to rise, particularly for 18 – 24 year olds. It is now more imperative than ever that employers support initiatives such as the 300-in-100 Apprenticeships campaign, launched earlier this month.

“In doing so they will enable young people across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire to develop and demonstrate their skills, and become real assets to both their business, and the wider economy.”