Sheffield Chamber comments on Unemployment in Sheffield

27th June 2017

"The article in the Yorkshire Post re the unemployment rate in Yorkshire and Humber being stagnant and above the national average shows how much we have to do.

"In Sheffield it is a similar story. Unemployment in Sheffield is at its lowest since the 2008 financial crisis (17700 now v 31000 before) but we do seem to have stagnated a little over the last year. This is generally in line with the other authorities in South Yorkshire. Conversely the number of people in employment has risen and is much higher than before the crash. These facts are good news but we still have challenges. There has actually been an increase in the number of people who are economically inactive albeit a big part of these numbers are students and people looking after a family. Zero hours contracts constitute 3.1% of all people in employment and whilst relatively low, needs tackling for the people who do not want to be on them (remember that some people do these by choice because of the flexibility). "If we look at where the job growth has come from the highest increases are in roles like managers, directors, (remember these can be self employed people who are owner/directors of their own businesses) service jobs in industry, skilled metal trades, care jobs and customer service roles. They are predominantly in leisure and recreation, professional services, property and business support, IT, transport and storage: and the hospitality sector. "What does all this tell us? In simple terms we are making progress, growing jobs, and moving them from the public sector into the private sector as we were challenged to do BUT progress is not as fast as we need. Remember that South Yorkshire has to grow faster than many other parts of the country just to catch up with the national average. It makes all the delays and question marks around issues like the devolution deal, and our seeming inability to work together to tackle root causes, so perplexing. "Business often gets a bad name for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes it might seem justified in certain situations but we should not forget that it is economic success that drives employment growth and sustainability and delivers massive amounts of business rates that feed directly into things like education and social care budgets. We need to stay realistic and focused as we consider what we need to do going forward but we must show good and consistent leadership and, just as importantly, ambition!" Richard Wright Executive Director, Sheffield Chamber of Commerce

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