THE NUMBER of people claiming unemployment benefit in Redditch has hit a six year low.
Figures released for September show there are now 1,053 people claiming jobseekers allowance, meaning unemployment is now close to December 2007 levels when it hit a pre-recession low of 955.
There are now almost 1,800 fewer people claiming the benefit than when unemployment peaked at 2,849 in April 2009. Wages continue to lag behind though and are more than £2,000 lower than in 2010.
Other figures recently released also point to evidence of the strengthening local economy.
There are now 31,200 people working full-time and 9,700 part-time, which has broadly remained stable as a percentage of the overall workforce since the coalition came to power in 2010.
However there has been a rise in the number of people classed as self-employed which since June 2010 has increased from 2,300 to 5,300 and now represents 10.1 per cent of the workforce.
The number of those classed as long-term sick has fallen over the same period from 2,400 to 1,700 but there has been a rise in those leaving the jobs market to care for a family member from 2,100 to 2,700.
The jobs figures also show how spending cuts have hit the public sector. There are now 4,300 fewer public sector workers in Redditch than there were in 2010 with 85.4 per cent of people now employed in the private sector, up from 71.4 per cent four years ago.
Redditch MP Karen Lumley said: “These strong jobs numbers show clearly the long-term economic plan is working for the people of Redditch; building a stronger, healthier economy, and getting us closer towards the Government’s target of full employment. There are almost 1,500 more of my constituents in work now than there were when I was first elected.
“There is still a long way to go but we are on the right track.”