Employment improves but fluctuations suggest lack of confidence among employers

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

And the percentage of people out of work regionally realigned to the national figure after a negative blip last month, data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed.

Last month, the East Midlands saw an increase in the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance and the unemployment rate jump to five per cent compared with a national average of 3.9%.

But latest figures show the region’s unemployment rate has returned to four per cent while the national figure has not changed since last month.

According to the ONS, the number of people in work in the East Midlands increased by 43,287 to 2,349,115, giving an employment rate of 61% - a percentage point rise over the previous quarter.

The same figures showed the number of people recorded as unemployed across the region dropped 12,184 to 104,035 but the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire rose by 2,470 in March to 45,820.

Scott Knowles, Chief Executive at award-winning East Midlands Chamber, said: “Last month’s blip in the percentage of people unemployed was never really explained so we’re pleased this month to see the figure much more closely aligned with what the rest of the country is showing.

“It’s also pleasing to see employment in positive figures, unemployment down and a slightly improved employment rate, but the outcomes are fluctuating month on month which suggests a lack of confidence among employers.

“It would be nice to see this month’s figures become a trend, but the harsh reality of the times we’re living in is that we can’t look at this month’s figures and predict what they might be next month.”

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