Unemployment Briefing - December 2018.

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

The latest unemployment claimant figures for December 2018 have been released, and show our Conservative number one priority of having a productive Staffordshire economy continues to work.

The latest position continues to show a positive picture with Staffordshire’s unemployment claimant count rate remaining low and unchanged at 1.3%.

There has been a slight increase of 70 working age claimants in Staffordshire since November 2018, with a total of 7,065 claimants in Staffordshire. In Stoke-on-Trent the rate of change since November has been higher than seen regionally and nationally, with 4,955 claimants (an increase of 150). A general increase over the last month has also been experienced across the majority of West Midlands authorities and nationally.

At district level the picture is mixed with Tamworth, Lichfield, Cannock Chase and Staffordshire Moorlands seeing increases over the last month, while the remaining districts have seen declines. This picture broadly reflects the impact of Universal Credit, with those districts/boroughs who made the transition earlier seeing higher increases, compared to districts who only recently moved over to Universal Credit. There is also likely to be an element of variation due to seasonal job opportunities.

Nationally figures show wages have risen at their fastest pace in 10 years as employment reaches a record high, with more than 32.5 million people currently in work. These figures show our balanced approach to the economy is working. This is the biggest rise in wages for a decade and with wages rising faster than prices, hard-working people can keep more of what they earn.

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.

Philip Atkins OBE

Leader of Staffordshire County Council

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