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Jobless Rise No Cause For Alarm

Analysts at 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 norm.

"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."

He added:

"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.

District Figures:

  Jobless Up/down Jobless current New Vacancies Up/down New Vacancies current
Coventry +529 8229 -359 1274
Rugby +140 1203 -87 188
North Warwickshire +139 892 -13 42
Nuneaton and Bedworth +240 2192 +16 271
Stratford-upon-Avon +112 1131 -54 141
Warwick +112 1801 -156 244


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 / 23 Feb 1999

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