Jobless figures rise in South Tyneside

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The number of people looking for work in South Tyneside has risen for the first time in months, it has emerged.

 There were 4,140 people in the borough claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance – a benefit paid only to those classed as actively looking for a job – in May.

Former Mayor John Anglin.

Former Mayor John Anglin.

 That represents an increase of 124 on April’s figure of 4,016.

 The statistics broken down by Parliamentary constituency reveal that 1,682 people in Jarrow were on Jobseeker’s Allowance last month, compared to 2,458 in South Shields.

 The figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) bring to an end several months of a downward trend in the claimant count, particularly in the run-up to last month’s general election.

 In April the borough count had reached its lowest level since December 2007, when there were exactly 4,000 people across the borough receiving the benefit.

 But a study covering of a recent quarter-year period does show that regionally the jobless rate is still downward.

 The latest ONS report, covering the months from February through to April, reveals a 0.3% drop from the previous quarter and a 2.3% fall year-on-year.

 And the official total of unemployed people in the region over the year is 95,000, down from 99,000.

 Meanwhile, the average weekly salary in the North East stands at £476.

 That represents a slight fall and is less than the UK average of £572.

 Today Coun John Anglin, South Tyneside Council’s lead member for regeneration and economy, said he hoped the latest figures were “just a blip” and was confident that the regeneration of the borough would continue apace.

He said: “We have had positive jobless figures for months and there are going to blips, and, hopefully, that’s all this is. I do think there are a lot of positives when you see the progress being made on ‘South Shields 365’ and the regeneration of Hebburn town centre.

“We continue to work with the business community to bring them into our secondary schools so they can explain to children exactly what is available and what skills they are looking for.

“I’m also really looking to the summer attractions that are lined up in the borough.

“We have some fabulous, high-profile events, most of which are free. They will see an influx of people into the borough and will promote the local economy.”

Nationally, UK unemployment has fallen again while wage growth has hit a near four-year high, official figures show. The number of people out of work between February and April fell by 43,000 to 1.81 million, the ONS figures reveal.