THE number of people out of work in Hartlepool and East Durham fell last month.
Government figures released yesterday revealed that 136 people in Hartlepool found work in March, leaving 4,657 people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance.
It’s the lowest number of people claiming the benefit in the town since September last year although Hartlepool is still above the regional and national average.
Hartlepool Mayor Stuart Drummond welcomed the drop in claimants but warned jobseekers that Hartlepool’s economy isn’t going to pick up overnight.
Mayor Drummond said: “It’s good to see the number of claimants going in the right direction but as we say every month I don’t think we are going to see any major changes for some time.
“The best we can hope for over the coming months is a bit of stability.”
The latest figures mean 7.9 per cent of people in Hartlepool are claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, higher than the North-East average of 5.5 per cent and the national average of 3.8 per cent.
Mayor Drummond added: “It will be interesting to see what happens over the next few months and what the changes to the welfare system bring.
“That coupled with even more public sector cuts over the next 24 months.
“The perception of some people is there’s plenty of jobs out there but people aren’t wanting work.
“The reality is there’s lots of people looking but there just isn’t enough jobs.
“There’s not as many jobs being created in the private sector as what are being lost in the public sector.”
The number of claimants in East Durham also dropped last month with figures showing that 3,408 people in Easington claimed the benefit in March, compared to 3,501 the previous month.
The Stockton North constituency, which covers Billingham, Wolviston and Wynyard also recorded a drop in the number of Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants, from 4,288 to 4,215.
And the number of people out of work in Sedgefield also fell from 2,666 in February to 2,565 in March.