It can be difficult to make sense of statistics and financial returns.
Has there been a double or triple dip recession? Is the economy recovering? Perhaps the best evidence is what we actually see happening locally.
The latest figures given to the Council’s economic task force showed that the number of people unemployed and claiming job seeker’s allowance in May 2013 was 6,460 compared to 6,800 in May 2012, of whom 1,800 were aged 18-24, compared to 2020 last year.
I was delighted to go to a celebration at Weir manufacturing in Todmorden when they received another Queen’s Award to Industry, their second in five years (and they’re aiming for a third in another five years time). Particularly striking was the affection that I heard from the managing director of the site, towards his employees.
They’ve just opened an extension to the foundry which is making part of the process more automated so they use fewer employees in that section. What’s happened to the displaced workers? someone asked. “We’ve absorbed them elsewhere in the factory” he said.
And in today’s local newspaper, I read another of the manufacturing companies in my ward is taking on more apprentices. So there is good news out there about businesses thriving and contributing to the local (as well as the international) economy.