unemployment has fallen in South Tyneside, bucking the national trend.
Figures reveal a total of 7,178 people in the borough claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance in February, compared with 7,227 the previous month.
But nationally the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance increased for the 12th month in a row, up by 7,200 in February to 1.6 million, the worst figure since the end of 2009.
And South Tyneside remains a jobless blackspot, with 7.2 per cent of the working age population now claiming benefit, compared with 5.6 per cent in North East England as a whole and 4.1 per cent across Great Britain.
Local youth unemployment among 18 to 24-year-olds has continued its upward curve, from 2,275 in January to 2,290 last month, meaning 15.7 per cent of people under 25 are claiming Jobseekers Allowance.
Coun Michael Clare, South Tyneside Council’s lead member for regeneration and jobs, said: “We are working with our partners to attract job opportunities to the borough and to help people into work.
“We are also placing strong focus on supporting young people who are struggling to get a foothold on the career ladder.
“One of the things we are developing is a pre-apprenticeship academy to equip young people with the skills they need to enter the workplace in the industry of their choice.
“Alongside this, we are continuing to invest in the borough’s long-term future through key projects to improve our school buildings, leisure facilities and housing and revitalise our town centres, riverside and seafront.”
Also this month, the Department for Work and pensions released its latest statistics, from August 2011, showing how many benefit claims there were in the borough.
They show that in August 2011, there were 6,440 people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, 8,970 claiming Employment Support Allowance, and 2,120 lone parents claiming Income Support, which are slightly increased on the previous year.
Hazel McCallion, chief executive of South Tyneside Training and Enterprise Network (Ten), which helps people back into the workplace, thinks the rise in benefit dependency is worrying and people must consider finding work outside the borough.
She said: “It’s essential to remember that South Tyneside is not a self-contained workplace. Travelling to other places is a must when looking for work in today’s world.
But she added that the cost of travelling to work is a barrier for young people in the borough.
Ms McCallion said: “It’s now nearly three times more likely to be unemployed if you’re under 25.“And of course that’s the age group most hit by low access to private transport.
To contact Ten, call 455 7778.