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Trade Still Robust Says Chamber

The pulse of the economy in Coventry and Warwickshire is still "healthy, if not robust", according to analysts at The Chamber in the light of virtually unchanged unemployment figures.

"The number of jobless actually edged up by 120, but this was after decreases the previous two months against national figures which had started to move upwards,"

said a spokesman for The Chamber.

"The December total for Coventry and Warwickshire of 14,056 was next to the lowest this decade, and only a third of the peak figure in January, 1993."

He added:

"Nevertheless manufacturing is struggling to maintain orders and profits, and therefore jobs.

"Despite cuts by the Bank of England, our interest rate is still double that of Europe, which does not provide a level playing field for exporters.

"The balance of probability is for a static first quarter this year, with a pick-up in the spring, particularly if interest rates are cut further."

Proportionally, North Warwickshire and Warwick took the brunt of the 120 who lost their jobs, with increase of 39 (5.5 per cent) and 52 (3.2 per cent respectively.

Vacancies fell by 26 per cent. But analysts at the Chamber of Commerce, Training and Enterprise say a rapid climb down was not unexpected, given unprecedented increases in the previous months.

Nuneaton and Bedworth saw a 54 per cent decrease in new vacancies (down from 558 to 255), and Rugby a decline of 35 per cent (down from 422 to 275).

Overall the number of new vacancies in Coventry and Warwickshire was down by 1,000, at 2,817, on the previous month.

"The number is still equal to the average for the whole of 1998,"

The Chamber spokesman pointed out.

Warwickshire's unemployment rate is still under three per cent, with Coventry at 5.3 per cent.

This makes an average for city and county of 3.4 per cent, compared with the UK figure of 4.6 per cent and the West Midlands average of 4.7 per cent.

District Figures :

Coventry - Jobless up 75 to 7,700. New vacancies: down 328 at 1,633.

Rugby - Jobless down 14 to 1,063. New vacancies: down 147 at 275.

North Warwickshire - Jobless up 39 to 753. New vacancies: down 26 at 59.

Nuneaton and Bedworth - Jobless down 29 to 1,952. New vacancies: down 303 at 255.

Stratford-upon-Avon - Jobless down three to 1,019. New vacancies: down 64 at 195.

Warwick - Jobless up 52 to 1,689. New vacancies: down 129 at 400.


The Chamber only reports on new openings sent to Job Centres during the month, reckoned to be a third of the total, and does not include long term vacancies.

MORE INFORMATION:  Barry Lloyd-Jones   01203 654260

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CWN / Business / The Chamber / 15 Jan 1999

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