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Hampshire employment reaches new peak

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Published by the Eagle Radio News Team at 1:43pm 10th August 2018. (Updated at 2:01pm 10th August 2018)

By William Rimell

Employment in Hampshire hit a record high last year with almost a million residents in work.

This was an increase of 25,600 people on 2016, and was the highest employment rate for shire counties across the country, at 79.8 per cent of the population (905,600 people).

This was also higher than the national average employment rate of 74.7 per cent.

Unemployment also reached new lows in the county, with only 2.8 per cent (26,900 people) out of work. This was down almost a third on the previous year.

Nationally, 4.1 per cent of the population are out of work.

Hampshire's economic head, Councillor Mel Kendal said: "Having the highest employment rate of any shire county is of course very good news, but we are not complacent, and recognise that we must continue to work hard to support meaningful job creation for all.

"Having the highest employment rate of any shire county is of course very good news, but we are not complacent, and recognise that we must continue to work hard to support meaningful job creation for all."

2,780 new businesses opened in the county last year, pushing the total to 85,770. This 3.3 per cent increase was below the UK average of four per cent.

The Hampshire economy as a whole grew by 1.7 per cent, to £49.7 billion; however, this was also behind the UK average of 3.7 per cent.

The county's business growth was strongest in the aerospace and defence sector, with 115 new businesses opening in this sector - an increase of 2.6 per cent from 2016.

The sector also employed an additional 2,000 staff (5.1 per cent growth) to increase the total to 43,000.

The county's two other major sectors, Marine and Maritime, and Tourism, both saw a dip in their work forces. They lost a combined total of 2,000 staff, taking the total employed between them down to 112,000 workers.

Nevertheless, 110 new marine firms set up in the county (3,375 in total), with an additional 40 in the tourism sector (5,985).

Ross McNally, executive chair of the Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, said: "In these circumstances we need to see investment in skills, and an ongoing drive for improved productivity."

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