Region Still in the Grip Of Recession But the Green Shoots Are There

PUBLISHED: 20:09 23 June 2009 | UPDATED: 10:56 04 May 2010

UNEMPLOYMENT figures released this week show the region is still firmly in the grip of a recession, but tentative signs of recovery are beginning to emerge. Though still too early to predict a return to growth for the UK economy as a whole, signs in the

UNEMPLOYMENT figures released this week show the region is still firmly in the grip of a recession, but tentative signs of recovery are beginning to emerge.

Though still too early to predict a return to growth for the UK economy as a whole, signs in the eastern region and in East Cambs in particular suggest that, while there is still some way to go, some green shoots have started to emerge.

Broadly speaking, the number of people unemployed in the eastern region increased by 15,000 to hit 180,000 in total, a nine per cent jump on the number of people out of work at the end of January.

Significantly, however, the figures showed that the rate at which people were losing their jobs was down from 21 per cent on the previous quarter, news greeted with cautious optimism by Cllr Ron Bradney, lead member for Economic Development at East Cambridgeshire District Council:

"The good news is unemployment in East Cambridgeshire actually fell last month from 1234 to 1204 claimants in May. This was the first fall we have seen since February 2008, he said.

"Unfilled job centre vacancies also rose again for the second month in a row and so we are cautiously, and I stress cautiously, optimistic."

Amidst some of the good news though, some figures published provided a deflating reminder of the all too ubiquitous downturn. The number of people claiming Jobseekers Allowance compared to last year almost doubled, while the number of people classed as economically inactive leapt by 36,000.

Despite the gloom, Cllr Bradney remained optimistic for the economic future of East Cambs in the light of news that the region could be boosted by almost 400 new jobs in the coming months with the possible arrival of Sainsbury's and a large new furniture outlet in Littleport,

"We are working hard to market the district as one of the best places to set up a business but it is a tough world out there at the moment. This will not deter us from making sure people realise that East Cambridgeshire does mean business.

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