Is Norfolk’s falling unemployment rate a sign of the recovery taking hold?
- Credit: PA
Prime minister David Cameron today tweeted about the record numbers in work stating: 'there are now 1.1m more people in work since the election - more proof our long-term plan for Britain is working.'
So is the government's economic medicine working?
Growing signs that the recovery was taking hold were underscored today as figures showed record numbers of people in work and sharply falling unemployment across the region.
Unemployment in the East of England fell by 23,000 in the three months to September, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) which said a total of 181,000 people were out of work in the region between July and September.
In fact, in the last 12 months from October last year, the numbers fell from 22,247 to 17,671 in the nine Norfolk constituencies, North East Cambs and Waveney, a further fall from October 2010, a few months after the coalition was formed, when it stood at 21,033.
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Nationally, unemployment fell by 48,000 to 2.47m, the lowest since the spring of 2011, while the region's overall unemployment rate was 5.8pc and saw a fall of 11.3pc during the period.
Meanwhile, Bank of England governor Mark Carney signalled yesterday that the UK economic recovery had 'finally taken hold' and unemployment would fall to a key threshold of 7pc earlier than had been thought, though he was quick to insist that would not necessarily trigger a rise in interest rates.
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Chris Starkie, managing director of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, said the overall economic picture was one where the prospects for the private sector were picking up and there was an increasing interest in the Lep's Growing Business Fund as companies were looking for finance to help grow.
'We have been cautiously optimistic about the jobs figures for the past few months as the trend has become increasingly positive,' he said.
Richard Tunnicliffe CBI director for the East of England, said: 'Further signs of recovery can clearly be seen in these jobs figures. Unemployment is falling faster and businesses have taken on 124,000 more employees in full-time work.
'It is really pleasing to see the East of England benefiting from such strong job creation. It's clear that pay restraint is continuing to underpin employment growth. We expect wages to pick up next year, but sustained growth must come first to protect jobs.'
South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss said: 'There are many exciting developments happening which in the long run will be extremely beneficial to the county as a whole.
'The dualling of the final section of the A11 will not only be a boost for business and local residents, but also drive forward tourism opportunities.
'A half hourly service on the Kings Lynn to London train route will increase the options for employment along the whole stretch of the Fen Line.'
Ms Truss added Norfolk was well-placed to offer 'excellent career choices' along with hi-tech jobs in engineering, science and the food and farming sectors.
But Labour said that while the fall in unemployment was welcome, families still needed help with the 'cost of living crisis'.
Jess Asato, Labour's Parliamentary Candidate for Norwich North, said the government was also failing to help the long-term unemployed.
'Today we have seen long term unemployment of over 25's increase by 27.3pc in Norwich,' she said. 'After three years of rising unemployment under this Tory-led Government we have only just seen unemployment reach the same level it was at in 2010 when Labour left office.'
TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: 'It is encouraging that more jobs are being created, but job quality is falling and close to a 20-year low. A record number of people are stuck in part-time jobs because they can't find full-time work, while real wages continue to shrink fast despite falling inflation.'