Derby jobless total drops ... and experts predict the trend could spill into 2013
THE number of people in Derby looking for work has fallen to its lowest level for more than a year.
Figures released by the Office for National Statistics yesterday showed that the number of Derby jobseekers in November was 7,883, compared to 8,090 in October, representing a fall of 207 or 2.6%.
It is the fourth consecutive month that the number of people in the city claiming work-related benefit has fallen and the lowest figure since October last year, when Derby's dole queue stood at 7,816 people.
The situation in the rest of the county is even rosier, with claimant levels the lowest for two years.
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In November, there were 14,697 people looking for work – 348 less than in October, which is a fall of 2.4%. It is the third month in row that the number of claimants has fallen.
The last time the figures were this low was November, 2010, when 14,362 people were claiming Jobseeker's Allowance. The statistics in Derby and Derbyshire reflect the national picture, where the number of jobseekers fell by 3,000 to 1.58 million.
And in the UK as a whole, unemployment fell by 82,000 between August and October to 2.51 million, the biggest quarterly fall in the number of people out of work for over a decade. In the East Midlands over the same period, it fell by 8,000, to 184,000.
Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce, which represents about 4,000 local businesses, has welcomed the claimant count figures for Derby and Derbyshire.
And it believes that the good news could spill over into 2013. Early indications from its latest Quarterly Economic Survey, which gauges the views of its members, shows that a fifth of companies plan to recruit in the first three months of next year.
The chamber's deputy chief executive, Scott Knowles, said: "Overall, the claimant count figures are once again positive and provide further evidence that the economy in Derbyshire is beginning to stabilise and that the private sector is creating jobs.
"There is always a seasonal bounce at this time of the year as many companies, particularly in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors, take on more temporary staff to cope with increased demand during the Christmas period.
"However, preliminary findings from our latest Quarterly Economic Survey would indicate that around 40% of local firms tried to recruit in the last quarter and 25% increased the size of their workforce, while another 20% plan to recruit in the first three months of next year, which shows that businesses – while rightly cautious – are also optimistic about the future in the short-term."
In the past month, Derby has experienced both good news and bad in the jobs market. In November, the city suffered the blow of Celanese Acetate stopping production at its Spondon plant, resulting in the loss of 130 manufacturing jobs.
And last week, it was announced that games software developer Eurocom, in Ashbourne Road, Mackworth, had closed with a loss of about 200 jobs.
But on the flip side, last month HeroTSC announced it would be hiring an extra 175 to work at its contact centre in Pride Park.
The firm already employs 1,000 people at the centre but said it was increasing that number after winning more work from Sky.