Hartlepool jobless claimant count drops

The latest employment figures have been released
The latest employment figures have been released

The number of people claiming of out-of-work benefits in Hartlepool dropped last month.

There were 3,875 people classed as receiving out-of-work benefits in the town last month, a drop of 110 on March and 200 year-on-year.

In Easington, there were 2,930 claimants, down 45 in March but up 400 over the year. Sedgefield had 1,920 claimants, a drop of 40 over the month and 375 year-on-year, while the claimant count in Stockton North was down five on March by up 550 over 12 months.

Jobcentre Plus' Michaela Ryan said efforts to help people into work were paying off: "We had a jobs fair at the office recently with a lot of different employers and we had about 600 customers there," she said.

"And we are working with local employers to mentor 16-24-year-olds and help to prepare them for the workplace."

The unemployment rate in the North East remained stable at 5.4% in the three months to March 2019, but the region’s figure also remains the highest in the UK. The UK average sits at an all-time low of 3.7%.

The North East’s employment rate fell 0.8% to 71.1%, the lowest in the UK. The region’s economic inactivity rate rose 0.7% to 24.7%, leaving Northern Ireland the only region with a higher figure.

Arlen Pettitt, Chamber Knowledge Development Manager, said: “North East England’s unemployment rate has been ticking up since last summer, reflecting our Quarterly Economic Survey results over the past few months which have seen a concern over staffing and recruitment trending upwards.

"The Government needs to look beyond the headline national figures and address the fact that the country’s economy continues to be built on regional imbalances. Here we may have seen more positive statistics a year ago as businesses planned for Brexit, but now the uncertainty is starting to bite.

"With confidence in the future lacking, businesses will be working even harder to make sure every time they recruit it’s the right person with the right skills.”

North East Local Enterprise Partnership Senior Economist Victoria Sutherland added: "We are disappointed to see that today’s labour market statistics show that employment has fallen across the North East region, including Tees Valley.

"Employment has declined by 5,000 over the last quarter and 26,000 over the year.

"In addition, whilst unemployment has remained stable over the last quarter, it has increased by 7,000 over the last year.

"There has also been a rise in those that are outside the labour market, for example, because they are studying, looking after children or due to ill health.

"These trends are particularly disappointing given that the region had made significant progress in last few years.

"The number of men in employment has increased slightly over both the quarter and year, meaning the decline in employment reflects a fall in the number of women in work. In total, 23,000 women have left the labour market in the North East the last 12 months. Going forward, it will be important to understand what is driving these trends.

"The North East LEP will continue to work with partners across the region to deliver the Strategic Economic Plan and its goal to deliver 100,000 more jobs by 2024 and to ensure the provision is in place to help residents progress towards, and into, available employment opportunities."