1,521 of my constituents claimed Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) in February. That's down 8 or 0.5 per cent in the last month and 757 or 33.2 per cent on a year ago.
The news regarding youth unemployment is mixed. Of the 1,521 Croydon Central residents claiming JSA in February, 345 were between the ages of 18 and 24. That's up 15 or 4.5 per cent in the last month but down 185 or 34.9 per cent in the last year.
Unemployment in Croydon Central is now 1,422 or 48.3 per cent lower than when the Coalition came to power and youth unemployment is 425 or 55.2 per cent lower.
And it's not just that unemployment is falling - it is falling quicker in Croydon Central than in most parts of the country. When Labour left office, unemployment in Croydon Central was higher than the national average; today it is lower than the national average (5.1% of the working age population in Croydon Central were unemployed when Labour left office compared with 4.8% nationally; today the figures are 2.6% and 2.8% respectively).
Nationally, a higher proportion of the working age population are in work than at any time in our history, there’s a record number of job vacancies and the number of people claiming JSA is the lowest it’s been since 1982.
Each month when I tweet the latest good news on jobs, various Labour activists reply claiming that all these new jobs are part-time and/or low paid. It’s not true. Three quarters of the 1.85 million extra jobs that the British economy has created since May 2010 are full time. And two thirds of the rise in employment has been in higher skilled professions.
There is absolutely no room for complacency. There are still far too many people out of work, in part time work when they would like a full time job or in a job that doesn't pay well enough for them to make ends meet. But these figures show that things are changing for the better - more and more people are finding work and more of the jobs being created are full-time. They prove that the Government was right to take tough choices to get the deficit under control. Labour opposed those tough choices - Ed Miliband said they would lead to a million more unemployed. They got it wrong when they were in government, borrowing too much money in the good times. Now we know they were wrong about how to clean up the mess too.