Jobless totals show increase

HARTLEPOOL MP Iain Wright has warned that young people are struggling to fulfil their potential as the latest job figures are announced.

The Mail reported how Hartlepool is facing a young jobless crisis after the town topped a national table for the highest proportion of people aged 18-25 claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance.

Last month’s figures, which have just been released, show the town has now fallen to second with Blaenau Gwent, in South Wales, taking the unwanted honour.

The number of young people claiming the Jobseeker’s Allowance in Hartlepool stood at 1,430 last month, 20 less than in September. They account for 17.2 per cent of the age group.

It comes as those aged 18-25 looking for work nationally topped one million - the worst total since comparable records began in 1992.

Mr Wright, who is the Shadow Minister for Competitiveness and Enterprise, said: “There is no demand in the economy, unemployment is rising and the economic growth forecast has been downgraded. That all points to losing a generation of people to unemployment.

“People in their late teens and early 20s will struggle to fulfil their potential, and Hartlepool will suffer for it.”

Overall, there were 4,270 people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in Hartlepool during October, compared to 4,252 the previous month.

They make up 7.3 per cent of the town’s working population, which is almost double the national unemployment average of 3.8 per cent and higher than the North East average of 5.1 per cent.

Hartlepool rose two places to having the fifth highest rate in the country for those aged 25-50 claiming the work-based benefit.

In October there were 2,255 claimants aged 25-50, which is 10 higher than in September, at a percentage of 7.6 per cent.

Mr Wright added: “The situation is becoming ever more bleak.

“We need to focus on jobs and growth and putting in place initiatives that get people, especially young people, into work.

“All the evidence shows that if you are unemployed for a long period of time you are likely to stay unemployed as people fall into a rut and employers question why you have not worked for so long. It’s a Catch 22 situation, especially for young people who are asked to get experience but have nowhere to go.”

The figures also show a small drop in the number of overall claimants in the Easington constituency, from 2,942 to 2,915 while there was a minor rise in the Sedgefield constituency from 2,352 in September to 2,359.

The Stockton North constituency, which covers Billingham, Wolviston and areas of Wynyard, saw a small fall from 3,900 to 3,875 in the same period.

Total unemployment has risen nationally by 129,000 during the last three months to 2.62 million, the worst figure since 1994, giving a jobless rate of 8.3 per cent, the highest since 1996.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said youth unemployment was a “long-standing and deep rooted” problem, as he helped launch a number of Government initiatives aimed at helping young people find work.

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