In one British town almost everyone has a job: where is it?

The town in the UK where only 34 people receive Jobseekers' benefits


The Smiler at Alton Towers

MP Andrew Griffiths was approached by the Department of Work and Pensions. Their figures had revealed that the town of Uttoxeter in Staffordshire had just 34 people out of work and looking for a job. They couldn't believe it, and asked him to check - at which point he identified the town in the UK where almost everyone has a job.

So what is Uttoxeter doing so right?

The unemployment figures are falling across the UK - and in June dropped for the 20th month in a row. However, there are still over 1 million people out of work, so we're far from being out of the woods. In Uttoxeter, meanwhile, it's another matter entirely, because only a tiny proportion of locals are unemployed.

Visitors might be surprised to hear that Uttoxeter is a hive of commercial activity. It actually became a running joke in 'A Bit of Fry and Laurie', where the pair played businessmen with big 'Dallas-style' plans for Uttoxeter - playing on the fact that it's a relatively quiet country town.

What does it do right?

The incredibly low unemployment rate owes much to the employers based locally. There are a variety of types of employment - increasing the chances that locals will find something that suits their skills.

Agriculture still employs large numbers of people. There are also major manufacturers on the doorstep - including Fox's biscuits and JCB. Meanwhile, in the service sector, there's the famous racecourse and of course Alton Towers round the corner, which also employs large numbers of people.

The Daily Mail reported that to make the employment prospects even more rosy, Waitrose is about to open in the area - creating 180 new jobs. The Express reported that Griffiths was keen to congratulate local employers for getting so many people into work.

The down-side

Of course, this is great news for Uttoxeter, but it's only part of the picture. The figures don't show how many of the people who are employed are on shorter hours than they would like, or are underemployed in roles they are over-qualified for. Given the role that agriculture plays in the economy, there's also the question of pay levels - which are notoriously poor for some farm labourers.

There's also little evidence of a knowledge economy in the town. The fact that Staffordshire University is closing one of its two campuses, will mean that there's a risk that even more of the most highly educated individuals will move out of the area - which will further impact the average pay levels for the town.

It's also worth bearing in mind that the employment levels are no reflection of the economy in the surrounding area. The town is a stone's throw from Stoke on Trent, which earlier this year was named as the 14th worst British city for unemployment - with a rate of 8.15%. This makes it a harder place to find work than Liverpool, Grimsby, Sheffield and Dumfries.

But what do you think? Would you contemplate a move to Uttoxeter?

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