THE total figure of town jobless benefit claimants has fallen for the fifth consecutive month – but even more young people in Hartlepool are now out of work.
The latest figures reveal that 4,472 people claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance in Hartlepool in July, a drop of 30 on the previous month.
Despite the fall, which means the number of claimants in town is now at its lowest since December last year, the number of 18 to 24 year olds claiming the benefit has increased from 1,320 to 1,335.
The figures show that more than seven per cent of Hartlepool’s population is claiming the allowance, above the regional average of 5.4 per cent and more than double the national average of 3.8 per cent.
Hartlepool MP Iain Wright, said: “We have seen a number of months where the number of claimants have dropped.
“It’s pleasing that it is going in the right direction but the falls in unemployment are so small we need the drops to be much, much larger to make a proper dent in what are still bleak unemployment figures.
“Youth unemployment is something that particularly bothers me. When young people find it difficult to get a job at the start of their career, they find it particularly difficult throughout their career.”
The North-East’s average of 5.4 per cent is still the highest in the UK, with the number of claimants in the region rising from 93,900 to 94,000 last month.
The number of claimants in Stockton North, which covers Wolviston, Billingham and parts of Wynyard fell from 4,175 to 4,141 last month.
But the Easington and Sedgefield constituencies both recorded increases in claimants last month.
The number of claimants in the Easington constituency rose by 61 from 3,232 to 3,293, meaning 6.2 per cent of people now claim the benefit, above the regional and national average.
Sedgefield had 2,600 claimants in July, a rise of 39 from 2,561 the previous month.
Brian Martin-Osland, 19, a jobseeker who featured in the Mail earlier this week, said the fact the number of town claimants is falling gives him hope in his search for work.
He has applied for more than 200 jobs in the last two years while also having to deal with the death of his dad, also called Brian, who lost his battle with a brain tumour in January this year, aged 62.
The trained plumber, who has completed a level 2 course at Hartlepool College of Further Education, is now also a carer for his disabled mum, Anita, 51, who he lives with in Wansbeck Gardens, Hartlepool.
He said: “It does give me a little bit of hope when I see that the overall number of claimants is falling.
“I just hope it continues to improve over the next year and hopefully this time next year the whole job situation will be a lot better for everyone.”
Nationwide unemployment fell by 5,900 from June to July, meaning 1,593,200 people are now claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance.