UNEMPLOYMENT in South Tyneside has fallen by almost 200 over the last month, latest figures have revealed.
The total number of people who claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) in April was 5,205, compared to 5,402 in March.
This amounts to the lowest local claimant count in more than five years, with the percentage of the local working age population also falling from 5.7 per cent to 5.5 per cent between March and April.
Although local youth unemployment remains high, the number of people aged 18 to 24 claiming JSA also showed a slight fall, from 1,435 to 1,350.
This means South Tyneside’s youth jobless percentage figure also fell from 11.1 per cent to 10.4 per cent.
Coun Michael Clare, South Tyneside Council’s lead member for regeneration and economy, said: “This is encouraging news and a sign that business confidence is beginning to return and new jobs are being created.
“Over the last month, 200 people have gained work and are no longer claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance.
“This, along with the fact that youth unemployment and long-term youth unemployment also continue to reduce steadily, demonstrate that we are moving in the right direction, and our commitment to getting people into work is paying dividends.”
But Northern TUC regional secretary Beth Farhat claimed the latest employment figures show a worrying 5,000 increase in the number of jobseekers in the North East over the last three months.
She added: “North East female unemployment is also up 13 per cent over the last year, leaving many women still feeling the lingering pain of austerity.
“George Osborne’s so-called recovery rings hollow for a lot of people in our region.
“With more cuts and job losses, it’s time for a new strategy on jobs, fairness and living standards.”
Nationally, the number of people out of work in the UK fell by 133,000 to a new five-year low of 2.2 million in the three months to March.
The national jobless rate also fell to a five-year low of 6.8 per cent.
Meanwhile, average earnings in the three months to March were up 1.7 per cent from a year earlier.