Unemployment Claimant Count Rate - April 2019.

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 position for April 2019 shows that Staffordshire’s unemployment claimant count rate has seen a further slight increase from 1.6% in March 2019 to 1.7% (an additional 440 working age claimants), but remains one of the lowest rates out of the 14 strategic authorities in the West Midlands and well below the national rate of 2.6%. In Stoke-on-Trent the claimant rate has increased to 3.9%, with 6,215 claimants (an increase of 225).

A general increase over the last month has been experienced across all West Midlands authorities and nationally, however the rate of increase is generally lower than that seen over previous months potentially indicating that the impact of Universal Credit full service rollout on the claimant count is starting to ease. We will closely monitor this over coming months.

The picture is similar at a district level with all Staffordshire local authorities seeing an increase between March and April, with Cannock Chase and Stafford seeing the largest increases. 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 full service rollout, with media monitoring of business start-ups and failures not identifying any noticeable job losses which these increases can be directly attributed.

New figures show that the number of people in work is at a record high and wages have risen at their fastest pace in a decade. With wages continuing to increase faster than prices, more people have the security of a regular wage and can provide for their families.

We are helping people into work by reforming welfare so work always pays, while backing businesses to create more, better paying jobs across the whole country through our careful economic management and modern Industrial Strategy.

Since 2010, across the country we have helped over 3.6 million more people into employment. The number of people out of work nationally is at its lowest since 1975, at 3.9 per cent – as we are helping people into work so that they have the economic independence that a job brings and can reach their full potential.

Behind every employment number is a person and a family 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.

Philip Atkins OBE

Leader of Staffordshire County Council

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