Glimmer of hope on jobs

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A slight drop in Hartlepool’s numbers of jobseekers has received a welcome from Mayor Stuart Drummond.

Fewer people were claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) in Hartlepool during February, new figures show.

Latest statistics just released show 4,793 town people were claiming during the month which was 8.2 per cent of the town’s adults.

But the figures were lower than those for January when 4,841 people in town were out of work, 8.3 per cent of the town’s adults.

That’s still higher than the jobless rate for the region of 5.7 per cent or the national average of 3.9 per cent.

The February JSA claimant level in town, though, still remains the second highest of any month in the last seven years.

Mayor Stuart Drummond said: “The small reduction is nothing to get carried away about but it is a step in the right direction and any step like that is a good one.

“However, things like the welfare reforms have still got to hit us. We have to brace ourselves for toughter times.

“As long as we can tread water, for the time being and until we can really get things like the enterprise zones established, and if we get the City Deal, at least it gives us some building blocks to try and attract jobs.

“In the meantime, we have to try and keep the economy on an even keel.”

However, in Easington district, the figures went up with ten more people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in February. The figures rose from 3,999 claimants in January to 4,009 in February which is 5.7 per cent of the adult population.

Figures for the Stockton North area, which includes Billingham, Wolviston and parts of Wynyard, show numbers fell slightly in February. The JSA count was 4,293 in January, with five less claiming the allowance in February at 4,288 people, or 7.2 per cent of the adult population.

And in the Sedgefield area, 2,666 people – or 5.1 per cent of the adult population were claiming in February compared to 2,695 in January.