02 February 2010

Northamptonshire County Council’s actions in response to the challenges of the recession have played a part helping the local economy show signs of recovery.

The latest set of indicators from Northamptonshire Chamber show that unemployment has fallen in Northamptonshire while businesses are saying that their order books are beginning to fill up again.

This month unemployment fell to 3.9 per cent, down from 4.1 per cent in November – the third successive month where the overall level has continued to decline.

Further to this the jobs market appears to be remaining stable with 86 per cent of manufacturers and 96 per cent of services stating that their workforces have increased or remained the same.

About 43 per cent of manufacturers and 42 per cent of service companies reported seeing an improvement in UK business for the past three months, with advance orders for the next three months remaining stable.

Money from the Future Jobs Fund has helped create 350 positions, mainly for the long term young unemployed in Northamptonshire, while the Northamptonshire Business Show was held to promote, support and celebrate local entrepreneurial talent.

The economic situation in the county is set to be discussed by the county council’s cabinet at a meeting on February 9.

Cllr Heather Smith, cabinet member for environment, growth and transport, said: “We have been through one of the deepest and longest recessions in decades but now it seems as if the Northamptonshire economy is starting to pick up.

“I am pleased that the county council has been able to assist in bringing in new jobs into the county and protecting existing ones.

“I am delighted that through the Future Jobs Fund we have been able to create new job opportunities, albeit on a temporary basis, for young people as they have been hit particularly hard by the recession.”

However there are some indicators showing that times are still difficult. Some 71 per cent of manufacturers and 62 per cent of services are operating below capacity, and 21 per cent of manufacturers expect their profitability to worsen in the next three months.

Another key concern among local businesses is the potential impact of cuts to public sector employment, services and investment and the potential impact of this on the local economy through the supply chain and businesses reliant on public sector contracts.