More seeking jobless benefit

THE number of jobless benefit claimants rose in Hartlepool in the last month.

The latest figures for people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance show there was a rise from 4,259 in February to 4,273 last month.

It leaves Hartlepool with 7.4 per cent of working age people in receipt of benefit.

The town has the fourth highest percentage of people claiming the benefit in the country, behind Hull with 7.8 per cent and Wolverhampton and Middlesbrough with 7.7 per cent.

The figures also show there was a fall in claimants in the Easington constituency area, which includes Peterlee, from 3,158 in February to 3,146 last month.

The Sedgefield district saw claimants fall from 2,464 in February to 2,432 in March and the Stockton North constituency area, which includes Billingham and Wolviston, saw a rise from 6,596 to 6,608 in the same period.

The figures also show that unemployment in the North-East region rose by 11,000 to 131,000 between December and February, leaving the unemployment rate standing at 10.4 per cent.

The national jobless total, meanwhile, fell by 17,000 in the quarter to February to 2.48 million, the first cut since last autumn. But the numbers claiming job-related benefits rose.

The claimant count rose by 700 last month to 1.45 million, including 462,300 women, the highest figure since October 1996.

The number of jobless 18 to 24-year-olds increased by 12,000 over the quarter to 963,000, while the total for 16 and 17-year-olds increased by 14,000 to 218,000, the highest since records began in 1992.