Warwickshire leading the way, followed by The Orkney Islands
In difficult economic times - don't mention the B-word! - Warwickshire's economy continues to perform powerfully. Data contained in our exclusive Quarterly Labour Market Bulletin reveals that the county has the lowest unemployment rate in the UK. Warwickshire County Council economist Emily Newport reports.
"In these difficult times, Warwickshire is showing its economic strength in depth."
Warwickshire’s unemployment rate is within the top 5 lowest in the country, suggesting a growing economy within the county that continues to cope well with these tentative economic times.
With uncertainties caused by Brexit set to remain for some time to come, businesses across the UK are resigned to having to continue to deal with that difficult backdrop. But the evidence shows that Warwickshire businesses are displaying the necessary resilience to keep the county's economy strong.
According to the most recent figures, Warwickshire now has an unemployment rate of 2.2%, with only 6,400 of the population unemployed. Furthermore, it is within the lowest unemployment rates in the country.
To look deeper into the figures, in times of uncertainty, of which the UK is currently filled, the flexibility of labour means businesses are more likely to recruit workers than invest in capital. Consequently, between June 2016 and December 2018 (the latest data), there was a 15% reduction in the number of people who are considered unemployed.
In contrast, the number of people who were considered unemployed in the UK grew by 20% from January 2004 until the results of the referendum announcing the UK’s departure from the EU in June 2016.
In times when the labour market is extremely tight, it has to open up to allow other ages, who ordinarily would struggle for employment, particularly the 50-64 category, the chance to work. This is then further coupled with an increase in wages to the national average of £29,800 per year, with more people than ever benefiting from a wage.
In Warwickshire, this unemployment rate goes hand-in-hand with an over 10% increase in the employment rate for those aged 50-64. This supports the earlier mentioned statement that the tightness of the labour market is enhancing opportunities for other groups of population.
In addition, the annual wage in Warwickshire is £30,549, above that of the national average, which when re-circulated in to the local economy, results in the growth driven by businesses, which in turn continue to employ. In these difficult times, Warwickshire is showing its economic strength in depth.