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Falling unemployment figures are just the job

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UNEMPLOYED South Tynesiders are having more luck in finding work, with the number of borough residents claiming benefit falling again.

There are now 4,280 people on jobseekers’ allowance in South Tyneside – 4.5 per cent of our working population.

The figure for November is down 155 on the previous month’s tally of 4,435.

Joblessness has continued to fall month on month over the last year and is now at its lowest level for more than five years.

But despite the upbeat outlook, the borough’s joblessness rate is still higher than the North-East average of 3.1 per cent and the figure nationally of just two per cent.

A breakdown of the figures by gender shows that 2,824 borough men are on the dole, outnumbering the 1,456 women in similar circumstances by almost two to one.

Employment among those aged 18 to 24 is also improving.

In November, 1,145 people in that age category were claiming jobseekers’ allowance, down from a high of 1,230 two months earlier.

Welcoming the latest figures, Coun John Anglin, lead member for regeneration and economy at South Tyneside Council, described them as “very positive”.

Coun Anglin, a Labour representative for the Beacon and Bents ward in South Shields, said: “What we need to see now is that these job figures keep going down in the new year, and I also hope to see wages start to increase.

“The Government has taken so much out of social benefits, and only by an increase in salaries will there be more money to spend in the community.

“There is now a lot of work being done to get more integration between schools, particularly in the secondary sector, and businesses, to increase the knowledge about what is out there and what skill sets are going to be needed in the future.

“A huge amount of money has been taken out of the economy in areas like the North East, where incomes are low and social benefits are needed more. What we need to see is a better disruption of wealth, not just it all going to London and the southern counties.”

Twitter: @shieldsgazpaul