THE number of people looking for work in South Tyneside fell again last month.
There were 4,016 people in the borough claiming jobseeker’s allowance – paid only to those classed as actively looking for a job – in April.
There is yet another big fall in the number of people out of work in the North East and we can see a major improvement on the position 12 months ago.Jonathan Walker, Head of Policy and Campaigns with the North East Chamber of Commerce
That represents a fall of 50 on March’s figure of 4,066 and a drop of 1,189 year on year.
The claimant count is now at its lowest level since December 2007, when there were exactly 4,000 people receiving the benefit across the borough.
JobCentre Plus spokeswoman Pamela Calvert said recent months had seen an increase in both the number and quality of vacancies on offer across the North East.
The region had seen the biggest percentage fall in unemployment in the country over the last 12 months, she said, adding: “14,000 more people are working compared to this time last year.
“We have a wide range of vacancies across the North East.”
Sectors such as hospitality, traditionally been associated with insecure, part-time posts, have seen a rise in the number of better-quality, full-time vacancies.
“The Crowne Plaza hotel in Newcastle has 150 full-time posts available. Maybe in the past, there was an association of the hospitality industry with short-term contracts,” said Ms Calvert.
The call-centre sector is also booming, with both Fusion and Barclays in Sunderland on the lookout for new recruits.
“We have a variety of jobs, with a variety of work patterns available,” she added.
Across the North East, the number of people in work dipped slightly over the last quarter, but was up by 14,000 year on year.
There is still a long way to go, however, as the unemployment rate in the North East stands at 7.5 per cent, well above the national average of 5.6 per cent.
Jonathan Walker, head of policy and campaigns at the North East Chamber of Commerce, said: “The labour figures show some great news on the unemployment front.
“There is yet another big fall in the number of people out of work in the North East, and we can see a major improvement on the position 12 months ago.
“Our region also continues to improve at a faster rate than the rest of the UK.
“Our recent quarterly employment survey results have shown that businesses’ hiring intentions have eased slightly in recent months, which might offer some explanation for the small drop in employment numbers.
“This is likely due to uncertainty in the lead-up to the general election, which should now subside.
“The national figures continue to head in the right direction, with record employment numbers once again.