Shropshire's jobless figure hits three-month high
The number of people out of work in Shropshire rose to a three month-high in August, but employers are now primed to launch large-scale Christmas recruitment campaigns.
Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that 2,005 people claimed different forms of unemployment benefit in Shropshire Council's area last month, up from 1,965 the month before.
Telford & Wrekin's figure improved, however, with 10 fewer people on the dole to leave the claimant count at 1,950.
It means that Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin have unemployment rates of 1.1 and 1.8 per cent respectively – both below the regional rate of 2.4 per cent.
Gareth Niblett, from Shropshire's Jobcentres, said the increase was not a consequence of large-scale redundancies but typical circulation of staff in the jobs market.
"There's no real main reason for the increase in the number, we have not been notified of any redundancies – it's people moving on and off benefits at different times," he said.
"Looking across our patch we have started putting in place a lot of work for Christmas jobs fairs and next week we have a Christmas recruitment week.
"We have seen a large number of employers starting to advertise vacancies over the next few weeks – there's a lot out there for people.
"A lot of those are temporary but many employers do tend to take people on permanent contracts in the new year if those individuals show they are of good quality."
Among the major employers ramping up recruitment are retailers Next, TK Maxx and Toys R Us, while food producers like Muller and pies and sausage rolls-maker Palthorpes in Market Drayton are also ramping up their pre-Christmas plans.
Meanwhile, Powys saw 685 people sign up for unemployment benefit during August.
Unemployment in the West Midlands fell in the three months between May and July, dropping by 2,000 to 164,000.
Britain's "strong" labour market saw employment jump to record levels despite households feeling the pinch as wage growth lags behind inflation.
The number of people in work reached another all-time high, climbing by 181,000 to 32.13 million between May and July.
The employment rate also rose by 0.5 per cent to a record high of 75.3 per cent on the quarter.
However, annual growth in earnings remained static at 2.1 per cent, both including and excluding bonuses over the period.
Once inflation is taken into account, total and regular pay both slipped by 0.4 per cent.