Unemployment down in the South West

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has released the Labour Market Statistics for the period September to November 2014, showing unemployment is down in the South West.

The ONS statistics show the following:

• Unemployment decreased in the South West by 7,000 to 4.4%, down 0.3% on the quarter. This is down 2.4% on the year and below the national average of 5.8%.

• Employment in the South West increased by 9,000 on the on the quarter to 76.3%. This is up 1.9% on the year and stands above the national average.

• The youth unemployment rate was 16.9%, up from 16.0% in the previous three months and still above average unemployment and pre-recession levels.

Commenting on the labour market statistics for August to October 2014, Phil Smith, Managing Director of Business West, said: “We see positive news coming out of the labour market, with unemployment down both nationally and in the South West. These confirm that the UK labour market remains a key strength for the UK, but there are some areas of concern. Although employment is up and unemployment is down, the quarterly changes were the lowest since 2013, supporting the view that the growth in the UK economy may be gradually slowing. Furthermore after a few Quarters in the right direction we have seen an increase in youth unemployment this quarter.

“Superficially the labour market remains strong but this may hide less positive factors such as people employed on part time and fixed time contracts and unable to get full time permanent roles. This is all the more reason to look to the general election and reinforce the focus on economic policy as we reach a critical time in the political cycle.”

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