Figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show around 3,265 people were on out-of-work benefits as of March 10, down by 1,710 from 4,975 at the same point the year before.
It meant 5.7% of the area's working population sought support in March.
The figures include those aged 16 to 64 on Jobseeker’s Allowance and some Universal Credit claimants, who are unemployed and seeking work or employed but with low earnings.
The figures also show that the number of workers on company payrolls in the area has has fallen but remains above pre-pandemic levels.
In the Hartlepool and Stockton area, 120,537 people were in payrolled employment in March - down from 120,636 the month before but up from 115,691 in March 2021.
At the start of the pandemic, 117,921 people were in payrolled jobs in the area but – with the cost of living rocketing – experts have called for more support for unemployed people and those on lower incomes.
Jack Leslie, senior economist at anti-low pay group, the Resolution Foundation, called on the Government to provide more help in the autumn budget.
He said: "The sheer scale of this inflation-led squeeze of living standards makes it all the more remarkable how little support the Chancellor provided in his spring statement".
Employment minister Mims Davies said the Government is "doing everything it can to help" - including supporting people in moving into better paid, higher skilled work and increasing the National Living and Minimum Wage.