Growing numbers of unemployed return to work as businesses reopen in Peterborough

The number of jobless people in Peterborough finding work is on the increase, according to new figures.

Job Centre Plus.  (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images) SUS-200204-154906001
Job Centre Plus. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images) SUS-200204-154906001

Statistics for Universal Credit claimants in the city show the first significant fall in the rate at which people are signing on in months.

According to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), the number of claimants for the four weeks to April 8 - four days before the reopening of non-essential retailers - dropped to 1.7 per cent - it is lowest rate of increase since the Covid-19 pandemic broke.

It means there are 27,334 Universal Credit claimants in Peterborough - up 464 people on the previous month.

In the months just after the health crisis began, the rate of increase in Universal Credit claims in Peterborough soared by 25 per cent as lockdown began to squeeze jobs and incomes.

By the end of last year the rate of increase had fallen to 2.8 per cent and until now the monthly figure has remained above two per cent.

A spokesman for the DWP said: “We are seeing a record level of people finding work as the country reopens after lockdown with the lowest levels of claims seen even pre-Covid-19.

“Many employers are feeling now is the right time to bring people back from furlough.

“There has been a massive increase in the number of jobs being advertised.

“For instance there are 2,000 vacancies advertised in Cambridgeshire, of which 900 are in Peterborough.”

However, the new rate of increase is still higher than that for the East of England, which saw claimant numbers rise by 1.2 per cent to 503,431 and England where claimants increased by 1.1 per cent to 5,257,953.

The DWP figures also show the number of unemployed people in the East of England is 124,000 - down 19,000 on the quarter.

The unemployment rate is at 3.9 per cent - lower than the UK average of 4.8 per cent.

The number of employed people in the East of England stands at 3.09 million - up 26,000 on the quarter - an employment rate for people aged 16 to 64 of 78 per cent - higher than the UK average of 75.2 per cent.

Minister for Employment Mims Davies MP said: “A continued fall in unemployment, a further rise in 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 for employers to adapt – and through our Plan for Jobs we’re continuing to create new opportunities for people right across the country.”