MINISTER PLEASED WITH ETHNIC MINORITY EMPLOYMENT HIGHS BUT VOWS MORE ACTION THE employment rate for ethnic minorities has reached a record high, with almost four million in work and unemployment at its lowest since records began. Figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show BAME employment rate is 65.1 per cent while unemployment is 7.5 per cent. The BAME employment gap is at 10.1 percentage points, a record low. In addition, data showed the overall UK employment rate is 75.6 per cent and the female employment rate is at 71.2 per cent – both new record highs. Alok Sharma, the minister for employment, said it is right to celebrate employment across the country, but equally important to note the highest employment rate on record for people from ethnic minority backgrounds. “These latest figures show we are successfully building an economy that offers opportunities for everyone,” Sharma said. “However, we need to do even more. I am personally committed to ensuring that we work to close the gap in the employment participation rates between all groups.” The government is aiming to support a further half-a-million BAME people into work by 2020. To achieve the target, the Department for Work and Pensions has pinpointed 20 local authority ‘challenge areas’ which factors in the communities with a greater BAME population and wider employment rate gaps. These areas include Barnet, Birmingham, Bradford, Brent, Ealing, Glasgow City, Hackney, Harrow, Hounslow, Islington, Leicester, Luton, Manchester, Newham, Redbridge, Sheffield, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest and Westminster.
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