Unemployment Briefing - August 2019.

This article has been kindly given to the SSCA by Philip Atkins OBE, Leader of Staffordshire County Council via e-mail (philip.atkins@staffordshire.gov.uk).

The latest position for August 2019 shows Staffordshire’s unemployment claimant count rate has risen from 1.8% in July to 1.9% in August, with an increase of 440 claimants. Staffordshire’s rate continues to be one of the lowest out of the 14 strategic authorities in the West Midlands, and is well below the national rate of 2.8%. Similarly, Stoke-on-Trent’s claimant rate increased to 4.2%, with a small increase of 10 on the previous month.

The trend is similar at a district level with all Staffordshire local authorities seeing an increase in the number of claimants between July and August, with the exception of Tamworth which has remained static.

The rate for Staffordshire has been steadily increasing since February 2019, from 1.5% to 1.9% and whilst this is in line with national and regional trends, work is underway to better understand reasons for the increase, and likely impact of Universal Credit full roll out across all districts.

Labour however means more dither and delay on Brexit whilst their economic plans would wreck the economy – leaving us with more debt, higher taxes and fewer jobs, hurting the people they claim to help the most.

Key national statistics:

  • Wages: Average weekly earnings for employees increased by 4.0 per cent compared with a year earlier – growing by 2.1 per cent after adjusting for inflation – meaning people have more money in their pockets.
  • Full-time employment: There are a record number of people working full-time (24.17 million – 74 per cent of the workforce). This has increased by 2.95 million since 2010.
  • Employment: 32.78 million (up 369,000 over the last year and up by 3.73 million since 2010).
  • Employment rate: A joint record high of 76.1 per cent (up 0.6 points over the past year and up 5.9 points since 2010).
  • Unemployment: 1.29 million (down 64,000 over the past year and down by 1.22 million since 2010).
  • Unemployment rate: 3.8 per cent (down 0.2 points over the past year and down 4.2 points since 2010) –more than halving since 2010 (8.0 per cent).
  • Youth unemployment: There are 451,000 fewer young people out of work since 2010 – almost halving since 2010.
  • Female employment: The number of women in work is 15.52 million – and the employment rate for women is at a record high of 72.1 per cent. There are 1.89 million more women in work since 2010.

Conservatives have also increased the personal allowance to £12,500 a year early so that people can keep more of what they earn. We have cut income tax for 32 million people and taken 1.74 million people out of paying tax altogether. An average rate taxpayer is paying £1,205 less tax this year than in 2010-11. We are helping families with the cost of living so they have more money in their pockets.

These figures show our balanced approach to the economy is working. We are backing businesses across the country to create more, higher-paying jobs through our modern Industrial Strategy and our developing Local Industrial Strategy.

Why does this matter? Because behind every employment number is a person whose self-esteem, mental wellbeing, economic circumstances and life chances are all vastly improved by being in the workplace. With so many employed and such a small number of people claiming benefits across Staffordshire, this is good news for everyone in the county and means people are making the most of the opportunities on offer.

Our long term economic plan in action shows we are backing businesses to create more, higher-paying jobs and as Staffordshire Conservatives we will continue to help people build a better future for themselves and their families.


Philip Atkins OBE

Leader of Staffordshire County Council


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