Dole queue shrinks again in Hartlepool and East Durham

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MORE people in Hartlepool were taken off the dole queue last month according to official figures.

There were 69 fewer people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in September compared to August, bringing the total to 4,100.

Hartlepool Borough Council leader Christopher Akers-Belcher welcomed the drop in claimants, but said it was still too many and the council was doing as much as it could to attract investment to the town and help young people find work.

Coun Akers-Belcher said: “There has been a noticeable fall from the 8.3 per cent unemployment rate in January this year, and that is to be welcomed, but 4,100 residents out of work in Hartlepool is 4,100 too many.

“Working in partnership with employers and other organisations across the town and further afield, the council is leaving no stone unturned in exploring ways of attracting investment and supporting new businesses, to help bring new jobs to the town.

“Another important cornerstone of our efforts is the Hartlepool Youth Investment Project, to offer young people a wide range of support and advice and give them greater access to traineeships, apprenticeships and work experience, to help them on the path to work.”

The latest Office of National Statistics figures marked the eighth monthly fall in a row of Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) claimants.

It means the number of people claiming has fallen by 741 since the turn of the year.

But the data also show that a fifth of the town’s working-age population – 11,750 – are on some form of benefits.

Of Hartlepool’s 92,000 population, 36,600 are in employment and 5,600 are unemployed.

The town’s unemployment rate stands at 13.2 per cent which is higher than the national rate of 7.7 per cent.

Figures for the Easington parliamentary constituency are also down from 3,009 in August to 2,843 in September, which equates to 5.3 per cent of the working age population.

There was similar good news for Stockton North, which includes Billingham, Wolviston and parts of Wynyard.

Jobseekers Allowance claimants there fell slightly in the last month from 3,786 to 3,612.

In Sedgefield there were 2,125 claimants in September compared to 2,228 in August.