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Good jobs news for Swindon, but in Devizes constituency unemployment gets worse

Honda’s Swindon operation provided bright news (Monday, December 19) with the resumption of full-time shift work, the first of the new, ninth generation Civics coming off the production line and the announcement of five hundred new jobs in January.

The plant has not been working to full capacity since the credit crisis of 2008 saw car sales plummet.  More recently the plant has been hit by supply problems caused by natural disasters first in Japan and then in Thailand.

The new jobs will start in January and recruiting is staring immediately – at www.hondamanufacturingcareers. co.uk 

The prime minister called the announcement of the new jobs “great news and a tremendous boost to the workforce, the car industry and UK manufacturing.”  Once recruitment is complete Honda’s Swindon workforce will stand at 3,500.  With an extra shift added next year, the plant’s annual car production is expected to rise from 100,000 to 180,000 cars.

Further south, in the Devizes constituency, the unemployment figures published this month did not bring good news.  Youth unemployment is still climbing – those aged under twenty-four and claiming jobseekers allowance (JSA) in November increased by 43.8 per cent on the same month in 2010.

Across all age groups in the constituency showed an 18.8 per cent increase in claimants over the year.

But the scale of the problem faced in creating jobs was shown by the comparative figures for November 2006 and November 2011 which showed an increase of 148.8 per cent.  By that measure Devizes constituency has suffered the second steepest rise in unemployment of all the English constituencies.

Across the country there were a thousand more men claiming JSA in November – bringing the total to 1.07 million.  But the government’s austerity measures are hitting women harder: two thousand more women claimed JSA in November. -bringing the total to 529,000 –which is the highest it’s been  since 1995.

And the national figures show public sector employment down by 67,000 over the previous quarter’s figure.  And employment in the private sector was up by 5,000 over last quarter. So far the private sector is simply not absorbing most of those who have lost their jobs due to cut-backs in the public services.

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