THE number of people looking for work in Hartlepool fell again last month.
There were 2,532 people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance – paid to those classed as actively seeking a job – in December, a drop of 19 on November’s figure of 2,551.
In Easington, there was a drop of 65, down from 1,711 to 1,646, while the claimant count in Sedgefield was down 110, from 1,372 to 1,262.
In the Stockton North constituency, which includes Billingham, parts of Wynyard and Wolviston, it dropped by 29, from 2,469 to 2,440.
Jason Livingston, senior service transformation manager for the area, said January usually sees a rise in claimants as workers who have been started on Christmas jobs are laid off after the festive period ends.
He said: “We normally have a little spike in January, but this time it’s continued to drop year on year. Year on year its gone down 1,400.
“It looks like some of the festive employers are keeping their new staff on for a bit longer.”
Mr Livingston said all of the claimants in the town have now signed up to the new Claimant Commitment where they agree what they will do to try to find work.
Their attempts are monitored and anyone found to not be complying can lose their benefits for a period.
Across the region, the number of people in work is up 33,000 over the year, while the number of people classed as unemployed – rather than economically inactive for other reasons – is down 20,000.
North East Chamber of Commerce Policy and Research Manager Mark Stephenson, said it is a great start to the year, with every indicator heading in the right direction and over 30,000 more people in work than this time last year.
“Employment is at a record high for the second successive month, thanks mostly to businesses, while unemployment is at its lowest in over five years – down 20,000 on a year ago.
“The claimant count continues its long term decrease and is down over 20,000 on the year, back to its pre-financial crisis level of 2008.
“In spite of the economic progress we have seen in the past two years, North East unemployment has remained largely static, so to see it falling is very encouraging.
“Ahead of a forthcoming budget and general election it is vital that political parties understand and safeguard the role that businesses play for the well-being of our country.”