New figures show that unemployment in Haverhill has fallen to the lowest level since 2008, the first year of the recession, and that it has almost halved since its peak in early 2009.
The measure of unemployment available at a local level, like Haverhill, is the Claimant Count. It records the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) in an area.
In Haverhill the Claimant Count rate in December 2013, the most recent data available, was 2.7%. This is the lowest it has been since December 2008 when it was 2.6%.
Unemployment peaked in May 2009 at 4.9%, since when it has fallen by almost half.
Haverhill’s claimant count is lower than the Claimant Count rate for the UK, which currently stands at 2.9%, and it has fallen faster. Haverhill’s unemployment fell by a third in the past year whilst nationwide it fell by a fifth.
The unemployment figures have come at the same time as national figures showing that Britain is growing at the joint fastest rate in the developed world and has recorded the largest quarterly increase in employment since records began.
Matthew Hancock, the MP for West Suffolk, has held a Jobs Fair in Haverhill for the past two years, backed by the town’s Jobcentre Plus. They have been attended by local businesses such as the Jan Cavelle Furniture Company and DB Metals, as well as national businesses like Sainsburys and organisations like West Suffolk College.
Jobs and apprenticeships were on offer for those looking for work. There was a noticeable reduction in jobseekers between 2012 and 2013.
Commenting on the figures Haverhill’s MP Matthew Hancock said: “Haverhill is a town on the up and I’m delighted that unemployment is at its lowest since 2008. The figures show that Haverhill took a big hit from the recession, but its bouncing back.
“This is thanks to the town’s brilliant businesses, who are creating new jobs, and the great team at the Jobcentre who help local people fill them.
“I want to see unemployment keep falling, and we’ve still got a long way to go. We’ve got to stick to our long-term plan so businesses can keep creating opportunities for hardworking people.”
Speaking about the figures Mark Newton, managing director of award winning local manufacturer and exporter LMK Thermosafe said:
“LMK Thermosafe won the Queens Award for Enterprise in International Trade in 2012 and since then we have expanded our production across two sites here in Haverhill, from where we export around the world. We’ve invested in new machinery and staff to make sure we can keep this growth going in a tough global market.
“The economy is showing healthy signs of improvement and whilst we hope a strengthening Pound doesn’t hamper the recovery of UK manufacturing, we intend to keep building on our success in the months and years ahead.”
Also commenting was Simon Martin, Chief Executive Officer of iCareHealth, a software company specialising in healthcare based in the town which has recently undergone significant expansion: “Since the acquisition of HET software in 2012, iCareHealth has undergone significant business expansion and has more growth on the horizon. To support this next growth phase we recently refurbished our offices in Haverhill to create greater capacity, and promote a collaborative, transparent and innovative working environment for our team, incorporating some neat new technology.
“The refurbishment was a seven week project costing £400,000 and the investment cements our commitment to remaining in the local area and building Suffolk’s information and communication technology capability, whilst providing local job opportunities.”