The Chamber are refusing to accept an increase last month in unemployment figures for
Coventry and Warwickshire as evidence of an economic downturn in the sub-region.
"In our area there is always a post Christmas blip in the jobless figures,"
said a spokesman for the Chamber of Commerce, Training and Enterprise.
"Our analysts also point to the fact that, although there was a 23 per cent
reduction in new vacancies posted last month at Job Centres, this, again, is a seasonal
"They also draw attention to the fact that vacancies are higher now in all areas
compared with a year ago, except Rugby where the total is identical.
"On average there are 84 per cent more jobs on offer, and in Coventry there are
more than twice as many openings as this time last year."
"Having said that, manufacturing needs all the help it can get, and quickly-from
lower interest rates. But locally there is still no firm evidence of anything more than
the economy stabilising."
The average jobless rate across Coventry and Warwickshire went from 3.5 to 3.8 per
cent, compared with 4.6 nationally and a slightly higher 4.7 cent in the West Midlands.
Coventry alone now stands at 5.4 per cent, with Warwickshire still under three per cent
(2.9 per cent).
Only Nuneaton and Bedworth recorded an increase on the previous month in new vacancies.
The Chamber's quarterly report on the long term unemployed shows evidence of the
government's New Deal beginning to have effect, as the proportion of 18 to 19 and 20 to 24
age brackets among the long term unemployed went down.
Out of a total of 15,448 jobless, 6,390 have been unemployed for six months or more.
For the first time in five quarters the figure for Coventry and Warwickshire dropped
below national averages-41.4 per cent compared with a UK average of 41.7 per cent.
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