Town jobseeker claimants increase

HARTLEPOOL now has the fourth highest percentage of people claiming jobseeker's allowance in the country, the latest figures show.

There were 71 more people claiming the benefit last month compared to the previous month, as claimant figures for Hartlepool rose from 3,962 to 4,033.

The figure accounts for seven per cent of the working age population in Hartlepool and the town is only behind Kingston upon Hull,

Middlesbrough and Wolverhampton for the percentage of people claiming.

The figures were released as Channel 4's popular Fairy Jobmother series is set to be filmed in Hartlepool to help people find work.

Hartlepool Mayor Stuart Drummond said: "The figures aren't unexpected as the current situation in the public, private and voluntary sector is quite dire.

"Hartlepool is an area the needs support the most and we keep making these representations to the Government and the figures are backing up what we are saying.

"I think it will get worse before it gets better and all we can do is keep sending these messages and hope they will listen and give us more support."

Figures for the Easington constituency show there was a fall in claimants from 2,646 in November last year to 2,592 in December last year.

The figure accounts for 4.9 per cent of working age people in the area.

In the Sedgefield consitiuency there was a slight fall in claimants, from 1,935 to 1,911, in the same period, which stands at 3.6 per cent of people in the working age category.

In the Stockton North constituency, which includes Billingham and Wolviston, there was a rise in claimants from 3,592 to 3,608, with the area having six per cent of working age people on jobseeker's allowance .

In Great Britain, unemployment has soared by 49,000 to 2.5m, with a record number of young people out of work.

One in five 16 to 24-year-olds are jobless after an increase of 32,000 in the quarter to November to 951,000, the highest figure since records began in 1992.

Employment levels have fallen, redundancies have increased and the number of people classed as economically inactive has reached 9.3m.

But the figures from the Office for National Statistics show there was a 4,100 fall in the number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance last month to 1.46m.

The unemployment rate is now 7.9 per cent. But for 16 to 24-year-olds it is 20.3 per cent.

In the North-East between September and November there was 120,000 unemployed, which is a rise of 5,000.

The figure accounts for 9.6 per cent of people in the region.