The number of unemployed claimants in Dagenham and Rainham constituency in February 2014 was 2,440. This represents a rate of 5.0% of the economically active population aged 16 to 64, the 184th highest of the 650 UK constituencies. (1st = highest rate of unemployment, 650th = lowest rate of unemployment.)

The number of claimants is 1147 lower than in February 2013 and 57 higher since the start of the year. These data are not seasonally adjusted. There has been an increase, and unfortunately in these first three months of 2014 there has been a spike in unemployment locally. There is still work to be done. Many are still underpayed and employed on zero hour contracts which is something the council and Jon Cruddas MP are working hard to address locally.

With this negative spike in the unemployment data we also see an increase in youth unemployment locally, with 20 more claimants aged 18-24 in the last two months. While it may be lower than February 2013, it does not bode well.

There is a lot of investment scheduled to come to Dagenham and Rainham over the course of the year which will undoubtedly help the local economy stabilise. A new ASDA superstore opened last year bringing with it over 300 local jobs. Work has recently started on the Sanofi site in Dagenham East. The regeneration project will bring a Sainsbury’s, restaurant and leisure facilities with the Sainsbury’s alone bringing over 450 new jobs for local people.

We have to tackle the problem of underemployment both nationally and locally; the TUC estimate that over a million workers are undertaking part time work as full time work is not available. This has led to many individuals and families being left in fuel and food poverty, which is not only a national issue but a local one as well.

MP Jon Cruddas says: “These latest figures are disappointing considering the trend in decreasing unemployment last year. This is further evidence of what I said following George Osborne’s recent budget, it’s the same old Tory con, we’re being told that the economy is in recovery but for who?

“With high levels of underemployment, zero hour contracts and low wages people are falling through the cracks. Alongside the unemployment issues I’m seeing more and more local residents coming to my advice surgeries that are in employment but are still struggling to make ends meet. This is something that needs to be addressed.

“With regard to the works being undertaken on the Sanofi site; it is crucial that we ensure it is local jobs for local people. I will be doing all I can in the coming months, with the help of local Councillors to make sure that this is the case.”