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East Midlands Chamber News

Chamber Reaction to Falling Claimant Count

Ian Greenaway, President of the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of CommerceCommenting on the latest unemployment and JSA claimant count figures released by the Office for National Statistics today, Ian Greenaway, President of the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “It is very positive news that the claimant count is down in March, not only compared with February’s figure but also compared with March last year.

“It’s even more positive that the figures for the Chamber region as a whole are a reflection of the national position which has also seen a drop in claimants both month on month and year on year.

“And it appears that the efforts being made to reduce youth unemployment are beginning to work as the claimant count among 18- to 24-year-olds in Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire have also all fallen quite significantly.

“The falls in this sector will have contributed hugely to the overall reduction in claimants, but this is no reason to think we can rest on our laurels. There is still work to be done to ensure these figures continue to fall.

“I think it appropriate to reiterate what we said last month, that more focus still needs to be placed on arming young people with the skills they need to compete in the job market, in school and colleges and through apprenticeships and other programmes which improve skills such as teamwork, communication, initiative and punctuality which employers place great value on.”

Regionally, unemployment overall fell by 15,000 over the three month period to March, with total unemployment for the East Midlands recorded as 175,000.

The D2N2 LEP/DNCC area (Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire) saw a fall of nearly 850 claimants in the past month, with the new count given as 54,111.

The number of claimants has fallen significantly over the past 12 months; by 77,000 nationally, 7,100 regionally and by 5,000 for the D2N2 LEP/DNCC area.

JSA Claimant figures for 18– 24-year-olds bring the most encouraging news as the number of young claimants has fallen at all geographical levels.

Nationally, there has been a decrease of 9,630, with 425,820 young people now claiming JSA, whilst figures for the East Midlands show a fall of 460 leaving 31,145 young claimants in the region. There are also 250 fewer young claimants across the D2N2 LEP/DNCC area than recorded in February, with a total of 15,865 reported.

Philip Lovett, Nottinghamshire City and County Employment and Skills Board, said: “In spite of the continued economic challenges we are facing nationally and locally, the labour market in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire continues to demonstrate its resilience overall.

“It is particularly pleasing to note that after a period of reversals on the numbers of young people out of work and claiming benefit that we are once again beginning to see a modest fall.”