THE dole queue in South Tyneside has shortened again – in line with the UK’s lowest jobless rate since 2009.
A total of 5,734 people in the borough claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) in November, compared with 5,910 in October.
This represents six per cent of the local working age population and is the lowest local claimant count for more than two years.
Broken down, the figures reveal that 3,677 men and 2,057 women in South Tyneside claimed JSA in November.
Youth unemployment has also fallen, with the claimant count for people aged 18 to 24 down from 1,730 in October to 1,640.
Coun Michael Clare, South Tyneside Council’s lead member for regeneration and economy, said: “The recent figures underline the progress being made in the region’s employment sector and show that the borough is moving in the right direction.
“The job opportunities can be attributed to current seasonality and a gradually- strengthening economy.
“We hope this pattern continues into the new year.”
But union leaders warned of a steep regional rise in female unemployment.
Beth Farhat, Northern TUC regional secretary, said: “For most, the headline figure from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) will be the 3,000 drop in the unemployment figures, but unfortunately, this disguises a far uglier truth.
“Whilst male unemployment dropped by 7,000, female unemployment in our region actually rose by 4,000.
“In the same period last year, there were 47,000 female jobseekers – that figure now stands at 62,000 – a staggering 32 per cent increase in the last 12 months.”
But the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) welcomed a 250,000 rise in employment in the three months to October and a 99,000 drop in unemployment.
Nationally, the UK jobless rate is at its lowest level since 2009, with 2.39 million people out of work in the three months to October.
The national jobless rate of 7.4 per cent represents the lowest figure since the February to April period in 2009, according to ONS figures.
Commenting on the latest fall in the national jobless total, Prime Minister David Cameron told MPs that the figures showed that “the pain is working”.