UNEMPLOYMENT in South Tyneside has increased by almost 200 over the last month, latest figures revealed today.
A total of 5,826 people in the borough claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) in January, compared with 5,630 the previous month.
Labour experts say the rise is due to seasonal employment changes, as people who found work over the festive period move back to benefits.
But the jobless total is still more than 1,780 down on the same period last year, so the underlying long-term trend reveals a fall in local unemployment.
The latest rise, which is in contrast to a fall in unemployment regionally and nationally, follows a steady fall in the borough jobless rate over the last year.
There has been a similar rise in the percentage of the local working age population claiming JSA, from 5.9 per cent to 6.1 per cent.
Coun Michael Clare, South Tyneside Council’s lead member for regeneration and economy, said: “Although it’s always a worry to hear about a rise in unemployment, these new figures show a seasonal increase that is experienced after the Christmas period, and when businesses no longer require the additional staff.
“The increase is minimal in comparison with the same time last year, when the JSA figures were actually 1,785 more than they are today. The council and its partners will continue to deliver schemes that aim to get people back into work across the borough, and to instigate new job opportunities for young people in South Tyneside.”
Mark Stephenson, policy and research manager for the North East Chamber of Commerce, responding to the latest regional jobless figures, which reveal a 3,000 fall in unemployment over the last quarter, said: “The labour market estimates for the North East are as ever difficult to characterise, but the overriding trend, going back several months, is that employment is increasing and the claimant count number is going down.”
Nationally, UK unemployment fell by 125,000 to 2.34 million in the three months to December.