Skills gap needs addressing as East Mids jobless rises, says Chamber

Scott Knowles

The number of people out of work across Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire increased in the three months to the end of September according to new figures.

The data from the Office for National Statistics showed the number of people unemployed rose 4,747 from 103,301 in the three months to the end of June to 108,048 to the end of September.

The number of people in work fell 4,315 from 2,294,544 to 2,290,229 over the same periods.

Underlying trends continue to paint a more positive picture, however. The number of people in employment in the three months to the end of September 2016 was 22,547 higher than for the same three months in 2015 and 72,612 higher than two years ago.

Across the three counties, the number of people claiming Jobseekers Allowance in October was 29,615, down 1,040 on September’s figure of 30,655 and 2,015 lower than in October 2015.

Scott Knowles, chief executive at East Midlands Chamber, said: “The underlying trend is the better indicator of the strength of the regional economy and that remains fairly positive.

“We’re not surprised, however, to see the figures leveling off. Immediately after the EU Referendum recruitment companies were reporting difficulties placing people. This was an expected reaction to the result of the vote, which surprised many people.

“We have been saying since the referendum that Government needs to be doing more to provide businesses with the reassurances they need that UK plc will continue to be a good place in which to invest after we leave the EU.

“The figures also show a need for Government to invest more today in closing the skills gap, the difference between what school-leavers can offer and the expectations of potential employers. The jobs are out there, but employers are reluctant in uncertain times to invest in long-term training.”