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Gloucestershire Business News

New figures show a fall in unemployment in the region

Latest Government figures show the number of people in work in the South West currently stands at 2.7 million.

The number of people without work is slightly better than the national average.

Ministers have welcomed a cautious economic recovery in the wake of the Covid pandemic.

The employment rate of people in the South West aged between 17 and 67 is at 76.8 per cent - higher than the UK average of 75 per cent.

And the number of people unemployed is at 124,000 - down 1,000 on the quarter.

The unemployment rate in the region is at 4.44 per cent - lower than the UK average of 5 per cent.

The number of people in workless households has fallen since October-December by 103,000, according to figures from the Office of National Statistics.

There were 6.0 million people on Universal Credit in February 2021. The figures show the number of Universal Credit claimants in Cheltenham between March and April this year stood at 9,085.

In the Cotswolds, the figure stands at 5,079. In the Forest of Dean, the ONS figures show 6,227 claimed Universal Credit. The number for Gloucester stood at 12,364, in Stroud 7,083, in Tewkesbury 5,979, and overall in the South West, 448,859 people claimed Universal Credit.

The Minister for Employment, Mims Davies MP said: "A continued fall in unemployment, a further rise on vacancies, and growth in the employment rate is welcome news as we continue on our roadmap to recovery.

"While there is more to do to make sure we support jobseekers over the coming months, these figures highlight the resilience of our jobs market and ability of employers to adapt - and through our Plan for Jobs we're continuing to create new opportunities for people right across our country."

Minister for Welfare Delivery, Will Quince MP said: "Universal Credit has been a lifeline for millions throughout the pandemic and it remains a key pillar of support as our multi-billion pound Plan for Jobs helps people right across the country back into work."

The figures also show that more than 260 young people have started a Kickstart job every day for the last six weeks - bringing the total to more than 16,500 across the country.

Ministers believe these figures show careful progress as key sectors such as hospitality, culture and leisure begin to unlock.

M&S plans to take on a total of 360 young people via the scheme, with a second Kickstart cohort scheduled to start in June. Joining as trainee customer assistants in stores across the UK, the new recruits will rotate across food halls, back of house operations, hospitality and clothing and home departments at M&S stores.

More than 195,000 Kickstart jobs have been approved through the scheme nationwide. These will provide new, subsidised jobs for young people aged 16-24 and at risk of long-term unemployment in the coming months.

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