'No surprise' as end of festive work is blamed for rise in jobless figures in Derby and Derbyshire
BUSINESS leaders in Derbyshire have attributed a rise in the number of people looking for work to short-term festive contracts coming to an end.
Figures released by the Office for National Statistics yesterday showed that the number of jobseekers in Derby was 7,833 last month, compared to 7,677 in December, representing a rise of 156 or 2%.
It was the first monthly rise since July, when the number of people looking for work stood at 8,511.
In the rest of the county, there were 15,103 people claiming work-related benefit – 703 more than in December, which is a rise of 5%. It brings to an end five consecutive months of falling jobseeker numbers in Derbyshire.
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But both figures are well down on where the city and county were 12 months ago.
In January 2012, the number of people looking for work in Derby stood at 8,558 – 725 more than January this year.
And in the rest of Derbyshire, in January last year there were 17,359 jobseekers – 2,256 more than last month.
The latest statistics are contrary to the national picture, where the number of jobseekers fell by 12,500 to 1.54 million.
And in the UK as a whole, unemployment fell by 14,000 between October and December to 2.5 million.
Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce chief executive George Cowcher said: "The figures for Derby and Derbyshire come as no surprise as the numbers usually go up as seasonal contracts come to an end.
"The key comparison to make is that the figures are down significantly when compared to January 2012, which is a positive and shows that progress is being made in getting more people back into work."
Since the start of the year, the retail sector has been rocked by a number of high-profile administrations.
Music and DVD retailer HMV, camera chain Jessops, film rental firm Blockbuster and fashion business Republic – which all have outlets in Derbyshire – have called in administrators.
Midlands Co-op is also shutting its Derby and Ilkeston department stores.
Mr Cowcher said: "While the overall picture is optimistic, it should be tempered with a bit of caution given recent events on the high street, which have seen a number of well-known national retail chains collapse and potentially place hundreds of local jobs at risk."