Strong Norfolk employment figures but key challenges remain
Across all districts of Norfolk levels of unemployment fell. Overall, the claimant count for Norfolk stood at 8,475, which was a drop of 195 claimants from the previous month.
Broadland recorded the largest fall in claimant numbers with a drop of 5.9%. However King’s Lynn and West Norfolk only saw a small decrease of 0.6%. From a Great Yarmouth perspective, it continued a worrying trend from the previous month with a lack of a strong downward trend in claimant numbers. Their claimant count stands at 3,000.
Ordinarily it is expected that the Great Yarmouth claimant count falls drastically in the summer months, given the local job market’s seasonal pattern. Some on this anomaly can probably be assigned to the shift to full implementation of the Universal Credit, however a continuing trend would be a greater concern.
Commenting on the UK labour market statistics for June, released this week by the Office for National Statistics, Suren Thiru, Head of Economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:
“With employment continuing to rise and unemployment falling, the UK jobs market remains on a firm footing.
“However, the strong headline figures mask some significant concerns. The gap between pay and price growth is now significant, and if inflation continues to rise as we expect, this could push UK growth materially lower by slowing household spending - a driver of UK economic growth. Employment levels may also moderate over the near term as the escalating burden of upfront business taxes and costs, and political uncertainty, dampen firms’ hiring intentions.
“The high number of vacancies is further evidence of the growing skills shortage. While employment levels are high by historic standards, businesses report that they are increasingly struggling to find staff with the right skills, which is constraining investment and productivity.
“The new government must make it a priority to tackle the UK’s chronic skills shortage, including easing the burden of upfront business costs to help firms recruit and train staff, and deliver a future immigration regime based on the needs of the UK economy.”