The employment rates in Mansfield and Ashfield have fallen over the past year, despite rising to record highs in the UK.
New data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that the number of people in either part-time or full-time employment in Mansfield fell to 73 per cent between April 2017 and March 2018 – down 1.5 per cent from the previous year.
In Ashfield the number of people in either part-time or full-time employment fell to 71 per cent over the same time period – a drop of one per cent.
It comes as the Government hails record high employment for the UK in the latest quarterly national figures, which cover the period from March to May.
These show employment across the country rising to 75.7 per cent, up by 0.8 percentage points from the same quarter a year ago.
Though local employment figures are released simultaneously with the national statistics, they only cover the 12 months to March.
In that 12 month period, national employment was 74.8 per cent, putting Mansfield 1.8 percentage points below the national average and Ashfield 3.8 per cent below.
The working-age population is grouped into three categories by the ONS – employed, unemployed or economically inactive.
This third category includes people who are not looking for a job, such as students or people with an illness or disability.
Of the approximately 68,000-strong working age population – those aged between 16 and 64 – 51,000 in Mansfield were employed and 58,000 in Ashfield, for 2017-18.
Despite a fall in the employment rate in Mansfield, unemployment also fell, from 5.2 per cent in 2016-17 to 4.3 per cent in 2017-18.
In Ashfield, the rate fell from 4.7 to 4.3 per cent.
The number of people claiming unemployment-related benefits such as Job Seeker’s Allowance, which can include employed people if they are on a low income, was up.
In 2017-18, the proportion of claimants was 2.1 per cent, compared to two per cent in 2016-17.
Almost every region in the UK saw an increase in the number of claimants, despite high overall employment.
And when it came to economically inactive people, these made up 23.1 per cent of Mansfield’s population and 27.9 per cent of Ashfield’s in 2017-18.
The East Midlands as a whole was the only region not to see its employment rate go up between 2016-17 and 2017-18, remaining steady at 74.7 per cent.
Esther McVey MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, said: “The employment rate is now at a record high of 75.7 per cent.
“With more than 3.3 million more people in work since 2010, this Government has seen on average 1,000 more people in work each and every day.
“Making sure our jobs market works for everyone is at the heart of this department’s work and the modern industrial strategy, and with more than 800,000 job vacancies we have a buoyant jobs market with plenty of opportunities available.”