Derbyshire unemployment rates give a mixed picture - was Brexit mess to blame?

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The number of people in work in the East Midlands has risen for five out of the past six months according to the latest figures.

However the figures also show the number of people claiming Jobseekers allowance is rising.

Latest data from the Office for National Statistics showed an increase of 44,418 to 2,348,333 people in work across the region for the three months to the end of January.

And the number of people registered as unemployed in the East Midlands fell by 22,685 to 98,489 for the same period. Since December, only March saw a small rise (2,000) in the number of people out of work in the region.

Despite the rise in regional employment, the monthly figures for the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in April compared with March showed a rise of 1,545 across Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire.

And over three years the claimant count has risen. In Derbyshire the claimant figures for April 2019 was 10,110, compared to 8,040 in April 2018 and 6,510 in April 2017

That month also saw an unexpected and unexplained rise in the region’s unemployment rate to 4.7 per cent compared with a national figure of 3.9 per cent, although the figure realigned itself last month.

Today’s figures show the regional unemployment rate at four per cent, which, with the exception of March, has remained relatively consistent over the period. The figure for England is 3.9 per cent and for the UK is 3.8 per cent.

Scott Knowles, Chief Executive at East Midlands Chamber*, said: “Today’s figures and the overall pattern over the past six months show the region is performing better than might be expected given the ongoing concerns over Brexit.

“It should be noted that today’s figures cover the period leading up to the first Brexit deadline [29 March] and we wouldn’t have been surprised to see the lack of business confidence reported to us at the time reflected in a rise in unemployment during those three months.

“The fact that regional employment increased shows the strength of the local economy and the desire of businesses to get on with the task of creating jobs and wealth despite adverse trading conditions.

“But this must not be seen by Government as an excuse to sit on their laurels – business still needs to know as soon as possible what our route out of the EU will be, always assuming that Brexit happens.”