The total number of unemployed claimants in Dagenham and Rainham constituency in February 2016 was 1,629. This represents a rate of 3.3% of the economically active population aged 16 to 64, the 176th highest of the 650 UK constituencies. (1st = highest claimant rate, 650th = lowest claimant rate.) The equivalent UK claimant rate was 2.5%.

This includes 1,460 people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance and 169 people who were claiming Universal Credit but were not in employment. Some of these Universal Credit claimants may no longer be seeking work.

The total number of claimants (both Jobseeker's Allowance and Universal Credit) is 115 lower than in February 2015 and 38 higher than in January 2016. There were 360 claimants aged 18-24 in Dagenham and Rainham constituency in January 2016. This represents 3.7% of the economically active population 18-24, down .6% from 4.3% in January 2015 and up from 3.3% in December. These data are not seasonally adjusted. Dagenham and Rainham is still in the top 200 out of 650 constituencies for unemployment. Although these numbers show improvement, there is still a lot of work to be done. Many are still underpaid and employed on zero hour contracts, which is something the trade unions and Jon Cruddas MP are working hard to address locally.

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: "Over the last few years the number of JSA claimants has consistently dropped in Dagenham and Rainham; and this is the first time that the number of JSA claimants has risen between monthly reports. There is an issue that needs to be addressed, and that is we need more local jobs for local people. We have made a lot of progress but this statistic highlights more needs to be done.

"Many people across Dagenham & Rainham are in part-time work or are employed on zero-hours contracts, meaning that they are no longer entitled to JSA but do not have the security of a standardised wage coming in on a regular basis. There are deep issues in the current employment market leaving many struggling to make ends meet at the end of the month, and with the proposed cut to Tax Credits on the horizon I envision things becoming even harder for working people in the local area, many of who rely on the credits to get by.

"The Tories say that the economy is growing but the people I speak to in Dagenham & Rainham aren't feeling it. This is something that needs to be addressed. I'm seeing more and more local residents coming to my advice surgeries that are in employment but are still in great need of help."