Continually improving employment figures have been welcomed by Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire Chambers of Commerce.
Government figures released recently showed there were 42,000 fewer people unemployed in the East Midlands in the three months to November 2013 than in the same period of 2012.
The number of Jobseekers’ Allowance claimants in Derby and Derbyshire also fell by 282 in December 2013, meaning there were 6,576 fewer claimants than there were in December 2012.
Nationally, the unemployment rate fell by 0.5 percentage points to 7.1 per cent, or 2.32 million people, in the three months to November.
DNLCC Chief Executive George Cowcher said: “These figures are once again positive and provide further evidence that the economy has turned a corner, the recovery is strengthening and business confidence is improving.
“They come on the back of fresh figures from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which has this week upgraded its forecast for UK growth, and also continue to underline our own research which shows that business is more confident, is recruiting more and is investing more.
“The key message continues to be that with employment up, unemployment down and inactivity down, things are progressing well.
“However, politicians and policymakers cannot afford to be complacent. As the national unemployment figure continues to fall, we get closer to the seven per cent figure which Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney has identified as being the point at which he will consider raising interest rates.
“While inflationary pressures eased slightly at the end of 2013, these still need to be watched closely, with any significant changes having implications for future economic policy.
“While we currently believe interest rates won’t rise until possibly 2015, business needs to know that interest rates will be held low as long as possible. When they do eventually rise, business needs assurance that this will happen in a managed manner.
“Shocks to the system, or the prospect of shocks, would risk undoing much of the good work businesses have done to secure this growth and support the economic recovery over the past 12 months.
“During his visit to the region last August, Dr Carney described the East Midlands as a bellwether for the UK economy. Tomorrow (THU) morning, the Chamber and its members will be sitting down with Ian McAfferty of the MPC and in March we’re meeting with his colleague, Ben Bradshaw, to discuss these issues directly, which emphasises the importance of the region to the UK economy.”