FEWER people are out of work in South Tyneside than at any time for more than five years, latest figures reveal.
The total number of people who claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) in July was 4,610, compared to 4,736 in June.
And the percentage of the local working age population who claimed benefits fell from five per cent to 4.9 per cent.
Although still relatively high, youth unemployment in the borough is continuing to fall, with the number of 18 to 24-year-olds claiming JSA falling from 1,165 in June to 1,125 in July.
A total of 2,950 men and 1,660 women are now unemployed and claiming benefits in South Tyneside.
Steve McCall, employment engagement manager for the Department for Work and Pensions and Jobcentre Plus, based in Newcastle, said the continued fall in unemployment in South Tyneside is the result of a rise in both full and part-time jobs.
He said: “It’s really down to a mix of temporary and full-time jobs and it’s not a simple picture. It can be a case of employers working with a training company and providing a guaranteed interview with someone looking for work.
“Opportunities are popping up in South Tyneside all the time, and it’s often a case of persuading people to consider work they may not have thought about.”
Mr McCall said call centre and care work would account for some of the falling unemployment in South Tyneside, but stressed the jobs market was “more complicated than that”.
“Often, it’s case of busting some of the myths surrounding areas like care work, showing people there are jobs available, and perhaps changing perceptions about certain kinds of work.
“It gives Jobcentre staff in places like South Shields a real buzz when they see people find work,” Mr McCall added.
Coun John Anglin, lead member for regeneration and economy with South Tyneside Council, said: “For the seventh consecutive month, the number of people claiming JSA has fallen, which is good news.
“It’s the first time since 2008 that the count is below five per cent, which shows that the economic recovery is gaining momentum.
“Long-term youth unemployment has fallen too, and is at its lowest point since 2011, which is encouraging. However, we need to continue to focus on this, and we are working with partners to increase employment opportunities.”
John Cridland, director-general of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) welcomed the latest overall fall in unemployment, but called for more help for young people on the dole.
Nationally, the number of jobless people has fallen by 132,000 to 2.08 million.