Unemployment fall is biggest in the country

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UNEMPLOYMENT in Rugby fell faster than anywhere else in the UK in the last year, new figures show.

The proportion of adults receiving Job Seekers’ Allowance in the borough has dropped 13.2 per cent over the past 12 months - the biggest year-on-year fall in the country. In contrast, the UK’s figure has increased by 10.5 per cent. Currently 1,508 people the town claim JSA, down from 2010’s figure of 1,737.

John Fraser, Job Centre Plus operations manager for Warwickshire, said the drop was due to a buoyant jobs market aided by the government’s Get Britain Working scheme.

“Usually we have about 1,100 openings in Rugby per calendar month, but in October we had 1,800 positions come up,” he said.

“Meanwhile we’ve been taking steps to get people in work including encouraging them to volunteer, getting people unpaid work experience and hosting a sector-based work academy for people who want to get into care.

“Our advice to people still looking for a job would be to get work experience as 70 per cent of people who do so find work.”

Scott Saunders of Rugby recruitment said the logistics industry was employing a greater number of people towards Christmas, and that could explain part of the fall in unemployment.

“Considering the national headlines the drop does come as a surprise to me. That said we have got more and more clients asking for 50 or 100 workers at a time and sometimes there aren’t enough suitable people on our books to cope.

“It’s obviously great news for the area but much of the work will be seasonal. Because of Christmas a lot of jobs are created from around August onwards, they are usually temporary positions that will last until January or February.”

The overall Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA) rate in the UK is 3.9 per cent, while in the Rugby borough it’s 2.7 per cent.

Simon Leech, branch chair of Rugby Chamber of Commerce, said it was something the town could be proud of.

“It’s excellent news and I don’t think this is something that can be attributed to one thing in particular. There is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes in Rugby and it’s a result of lots of people working together that we’re seeing some success. Rugby First, Rugby Borough Council and our MP all work hard to do get the best out of what we’ve got here.

“A lot of local manufactures and logistics firms are doing very well and there has been some success in leisure and retail – and those are things Rugby First are continuing to work hard on.”