The claimant count in May was recorded at 3946, reducing by 129 claims from the April figure, for three consecutive months claimants reduced and are 242 claims down on the figures for May 2009.
4.0% of the working age population of Reading is claiming job seekers allowance down 0.1% from April. The GB and South East rates reduced by 0.2%. The Reading rate is 1.2% higher than the South East rate of 2.8% and is no longer inline with the GB rate which is 0.1% lower than Reading, at a rate of 3.9%.
In April, White British people made up 60% of the claimant count, 2465 claimants for the month, down 55 claimants from last month. A relatively high proportion of people’s ethnicity was not known (14%). There were 835 Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) claimants in April 2010 compared to the 770 BME claimants in April 2009.
The majority of claimants, 665 people, are aged 20-24, 17% of all claimants fall within that age group, up 1% from April. Those aged 25-29 make up 13 % of claimants as do those aged 40-44. Those aged 25-29 saw the largest drop in claimants from April to May with a reduction of 35 claimants. Claimant numbers increased only for those aged 40-44, all other age groups went down in numbers claiming. Young people (those 24 and under) represent 25% of all claimants.
70% of job seeker claimants are male, which has been more or less the same throughout 2009 and into 2010. Only marginal fluctuation of 1 or 2 percent over the period has occurred and this time last year males made up 73% of claimants, which means female claimants had an annual increased from 27% to 30%.
The proportion of Reading’s population claiming job seekers match those of 10 authorities in Great Britain including Bridge End, Bedford and Preston. Across the South East, Reading is in 8th place with 7 other local authorities with a higher rate.
Hopefully, the situation will continue to improve. But with the Conservatives and Lib Dems poised to swing the axe again on Tuesday at the "emergency budget", this may push us into a double dip recession.
I would like to see a Green New Deal introduced, creating millions of jobs and training opportunities, giving us the infrastructure and public services fit of the 21st century. This economic boost would help get us through the recession.