Unemployment Briefing - July 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 July 2019 shows that Staffordshire’s unemployment claimant count rate has increased from 1.8% in June 2019 to 1.9% in July 2019, with an increase (360) in the number of claimants. The rate in Staffordshire remains one of the lowest rates out of the 14 strategic authorities in the West Midlands, and well below the national rate of 2.7%. In Stoke-on-Trent the claimant rate has increased to 4.1%, with 6,640 claimants showing an increase of 175 on the previous month.

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

As with wider regional and national trends it is likely that these increases in unemployment benefit claimants are due to the continuing effect of Universal Credit rollout.

Nationally the figures show that the number of people in work has reached a record, while the unemployment rate is at its lowest since the mid-1970s, at 3.9 per cent. And with wages rising at their fastest pace in 11 years – ahead of inflation – the latest data shows that wages have increased by 3.9 per cent – growing by 1.9 per cent after adjusting for inflation – meaning people have more money in their pockets. 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.

Why does this matters? 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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