East Midlands unemployment rate bucks national trend thanks to warehouse jobs
The unemployment rate in the East Midlands is at an almost all-time low according to the most recent figures for the region. The numbers released on January 18 show that the East Midlands has an unemployment rate of 3.5 per cent, lower than the UK average of 4.1 per cent. Both the East Midlands Chamber and the Derby Jobcentre believe that this is partly thanks to Derbyshire’s booming logistics industry.
: Get the latest jobs stories from Derbyshire Live A quick search for warehouse operative jobs in Derbyshire shows almost a thousand adverts with some offering up to GBP18.30 an hour with no experience required. In recent months, Derbyshire Live has reported on hundreds of jobs available within the distribution sector, from operatives to drivers.
According to Chris Hobson, the director of policy and external affairs at the East Midlands Chamber, logistics is an underappreciated sector that has been fueling Derbyshire’s recovery from the financial strain of the pandemic. “It has always been a strength for the region but I think logistics as a sector has always gone under the radar and has been taken for granted a little bit. “People tend not to think about how they get their goods supplied to their door or supermarket shelves, they just assume that it will be there.
“But the East Midlands has long been the centre for logistics. “Right now, these businesses are growing and trends show a greater shift toward shopping online and this is an industry that is growing. “I think that the East Midlands has demonstrated that it is very well placed for those businesses to come and base themselves and so, more companies are deciding to expand within the East Midlands because of where we are.”
Derbyshire is perfect for logistics businesses because of its central location in the country and its proximity to the M1 corridor. The county sits in the “Golden Triangle” meaning that 95 per cent of the UK population is within a four-hour drive of the region. East Midlands Airport, as well as being a tourism hub for the region, is also the UK’s largest freight airport and acts as the point of entry for many of the products that British consumers receive from abroad.
The East Midlands Gateway development, just north of the airport, claims to employ 332,000 workers within a 30-minute drive from the site. Huge business names like Amazon, DHL, Very, and Kuehne + Nagel use the site, which spans 700 acres. Providing a workforce for these businesses has been a heavy area of focus for the Derby Jobcentre, getting individuals on Universal Credit back into work.
Lisa Gill, employer adviser for the Derby Jobcentre, told Derbyshire Live: “The figures across Derbyshire and across the East Midlands generally are definitely reflecting the buoyant labour market that we have had on the run-up to Christmas and into the New Year. “Where we are located along the M1 corridor, prior to Christmas, we had such a huge recruitment drive for so many of the logistic operations around the East Midlands Gateway. “Big logistic parks across our patch, I think, has really kept the labour market really buoyant.
“In the Jobcentre, you can come in and bring your ID with you and we sign you up to start on the Monday, it really is that quick.” Lisa has decades of experience working within the Department for Work and Pensions. She said: “In forty years, I am bound to have seen when unemployment was high and when it has been low again.
“As it is now, the employment rate is extremely favourable. More than 75 per cent of 16 to 64-year-olds in employment is extremely favourable and that is a really fantastic rate. “It is really good that the East Midlands is bucking the trend and being a huge contributor to offer a great choice of jobs and support.”
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