Mixed news on Hartlepool jobless figures

JobCentre Plus
JobCentre Plus

The number of people looking for work in Hartlepool fell last month - but the new figure was still up year-on-year.

There were 2,685 people claiming out-of-work benefits - Jobseekers’ Allowance and Universal Credit - in the town last month, a fall of 95 from May but a rise of 490 on the same time last year.

Although the unemployment rate remains stubbornly high, we have seen a welcome fall in the economic inactivity rate.

Paul Carbert

Easington saw claimant numbers fall by 70 last month, and 15 over the year, to 1,495, and Sedgefield’s count was 1,135, a fall of 65 from June and 35 over the year.

But the claimant count was also up year-on-year in Stockton North, rising 35 to 2,170 despite a fall of 80 in the last month.

Karen Houghton, from JobCentre Plus, said there had been a number of encouraging developments in the town in recent weeks.

“We have got Costa Coffee opening three stores, one in the town centre and two at the Marina,” she said.

“We did group interviews and supported sessions with clients and we have already had some success from that - we have had one man who has been offered the post of head barista and he is now undergoing training.

“We have also got Frankie and Benny’s opening soon, another national brand, and we are working closely with them.”

It was not all good news, however, with the town’s BHS store due to close shortly: “We have already been into the store to offer support,” said Karen.

“We will continue to offer people help to find new positions.”

Across the North East, the number of people in employment has hit a record high.

There were 1,205,000 people in work in the region in the three months to the end of May, a rise of 36,000 over the year.

The number of people classed as unemployed was 96,000, down 2,000 over the last 12 months, and 386,000 people were classed as economically inactive, a drop of 37,000.

Employment Minister Damian Hinds said: “There’s great news in the North East where the employment rate is at a record high of 70.9% with over 1.2 million people in work.

“Clearly, good progress has been made, and I’m encouraged to take forward the agenda to create an even more resilient labour market.”

North East Chamber of Commerce Policy Adviser Paul Carbert said: “These figures continue recent positive trends, with a modest increase in employment and a decrease in unemployment.

“Although the unemployment rate remains stubbornly high, we have seen a welcome fall in the economic inactivity rate.

“We must now ensure young people and older workers returning to the labour market, are equipped with the skills required.”