The number of 18 to 24-year-olds claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in Northumberland has dropped by 30 per cent in the last year, while the region’s unemployment rate has shown a marked decline.
In the North East as a whole, employment in the period from September to November 2014 was up by 16,000 on the previous quarter and up 36,000 year on year. Unemployment has dropped by 9,000 on the latest period and by 19,000 year on year.
A spokeswoman from Jobcentre Plus also told the Gazette that they had been doing a lot of work regarding recruitment in Northumberland with vacancies becoming available at places such as The Alnwick Garden, Haggerston Castle and Berwick Holiday Park in a variety of roles. They are also in discussions with Aldi, which is due to open its new Alnwick store in the summer.
North East Chamber of Commerce policy and research manager, Mark Stephenson, said: “Today’s figures are a great start to the year with every indicator heading in the right direction and over 30,000 more people in work than this time last year. Employment is at a record high for the second successive month thanks mostly to businesses, while unemployment is at its lowest in over five years – down 20,000 on a year ago. The claimant count continues its long-term decrease and is down over 20,000 on the year, back to its pre-financial crisis level of 2008.
“While the North East unemployment rate remains too high, moving below nine per cent represents a symbolic victory. In spite of the economic progress we have seen in the past two years, North East unemployment has remained largely static, so to see it falling is very encouraging. The unemployment rate dropped as fast as anywhere in the country while the increase in employment was bettered only by one other region.
“The North East business community has made the majority of this progress possible in the context of continuing retrenchment in the public sector, which just goes to underline the necessity for pro-business public policy placing a premium on development, investment, employment and growth. Ahead of a forthcoming budget and general election, it is vital that political parties understand and safeguard the role that businesses play for the well-being of our country.”
The good news comes as the national unemployment rate falls below six per cent for the first time in six years. Plus job vacancies have risen by 127,000 to hit a 14-year record high.
Conservative Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said: “We have reached an important milestone in this country’s jobs-led recovery – with unemployment falling below six per cent for the first time in six years. Welfare reform has played an instrumental part in this.
“We know that British people want to work hard and get on, but all too often in the past the welfare state hindered rather than helped – thwarting ambition and killing off hope. We put an end to that and now the number of people claiming the main out-of-work benefits is the lowest for a generation, and there are record numbers of people in work.
“Thanks to our long-term economic plan, businesses are feeling confident about the future. Jobs are being created and salaries are rising, meaning that increasing numbers of people are feeling the security and hope for the future that comes with a regular wage.”