Unemployment in Stoke-on-Trent has shrunk to its second lowest level since 2006, latest figures show.
The number of people unemployed has dropped to 7,400, behind only the 7,000 recorded at the end of 2015. And the city’s economic activity rate is currently at its second highest level since 2004.
Councillor Dave Conway, leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council, said the figures, released by the Office of National Statistics, were further proof of Stoke-on-Trent’s economic resurgence and its ambition to build a growing aspirational city.
Many of the city council’s investments are starting to show positive results, with the last 12 months alone seeing up to 500 jobs created at Two Smithfeld by WaterPlus, a joint venture between Severn Trent Water and United Utilities. A further 1,000 jobs have been secured at the UK’s first Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone. The private sector is also rising to the challenge including a £10 million expansion at Stoke’s Michelin site, creating 80 jobs, and Amazon’s arrival at Trentham Lakes, creating another 120.
Cllr Conway said: “Stoke-on-Trent is a city moving in the right direction and the news around unemployment being at its second lowest level in more than 10 years is another clear sign of that. We are working very hard to secure investment in our city and create the right conditions for businesses to thrive and fulfil their growth potential and our efforts are now paying off.
“This is a very exciting time for Stoke-on-Trent and nowhere is this more evident than at our Government-backed Enterprise Zone, which is attracting interest in all six sites from far and wide and has the potential to create a further 8,000 jobs on top of the 1,000 already secured. We are helping to lead the way nationally for job creation, which is good news for local people who can really benefit from the extra opportunities being provided on their doorstep.”
A national study by law firm Irwin Mitchell in October singled out job creation in the city as the fourth-highest rate across the whole UK – only marginally bettered by Glasgow, Milton Keynes and Liverpool.
Cllr Janine Bridges, cabinet member for education and economy, said: “These figures are really encouraging and support the work we are doing to create jobs in our city. Our inward investment service has already reached its target for supporting the creation of new jobs, with three months of the financial year to go.
“The team works incredibly hard to help businesses to locate in Stoke-on-Trent, with a streamlined planning process,
expert knowledge on site availability and time taken to get to know business needs to provide tailored support. This work
is clearly paying dividends.”