Rise in unemployment since Christmas sees additional 800 signing on in Milton Keynes

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Unemployment rose in Milton Keynes during the early months of 2014, following the end of the January sales.

An extra 800 people registered as unemployed over January and February, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Prospective Labour MP Andrew Pakes said that the numbers show that the city still has a seasonal economy.

Mr Pakes said: “The unemployment figures did get gradually better in 2013, but in January and February there was an increase in the number of people signing on. That shows how fragile the recovery is.

“We have a large seasonal economy, which meant that there were a number of warehouse and distribution jobs, but once the post-Christmas sales ended those people were laid off.

“Milton Keynes can’t be complacent. Even though there is business confidence we have to keep focus on driving down unemployment.”

In February Milton Keynes had a 2.7 per cent rate of people claiming unemployment benefits. This was 3.4 per cent for men and 2.0 per cent for women.

That was in line with the national 2.9 per cent rate, but above the regional average of 1.9 per cent across the South East.

Iain Stewart, Conservative MP for Milton Keynes South, said: “The economy of Milton Keynes and the UK as a whole is on the right path. All areas of our economy are performing well. Just this week the ONS announced that manufacturing has seen strong growth, with output up 3.8 per cent on this time last year.

“In Milton Keynes our economy remains strong; we are attracting businesses and creating jobs. The most recent data shows an annual fall in the number of claimants. There have been seasonal fluctuations at the start of this year and unfortunately the data provided by the ONS is not seasonally adjusted.”