JOBS are up, youth unemployment is down and there are fewer people on benefits across the Portsmouth area, new figures have revealed.
The latest Labour Market Statistics from the Office for National Statistics show the national employment rate is at its highest levels since it began in 1971, with 74.5 per cent of the working-age population – 31.8m people – in work.
And in Portsmouth, the number of people in jobs was also at a high, pipping the national average, with some 76.2 per cent in employment – a boost of 1.5 per cent over this time last year.
The statistics, announced yesterday, have been welcomed by both of the city’s MPs, who claimed it was a glowing endorsement of Portsmouth’s thriving economy.
Penny Mordaunt, Portsmouth North MP, said the figures were a step in the right direction but stressed more still needed to be done to boost jobs.
The work and pensions minister said: ‘We have made really steady and considerable progress since 2010 in terms of getting people into employment and ensuring they’re staying there.
‘That’s not just down to the government but down to businesses taking a risk and expanding but also taking a risk about employing someone who maybe hasn’t been in the workplace in recent times. But I think there is still more that we would like to do.’
Youth unemployment in Portsmouth has dropped 14 per cent from 392 people to 337 this year.
And the number of people claiming universal tax credits and Jobseeker’s Allowance is also down, falling from 5,700 in 2010 to 1,975 this year, a drop of 7.8 per cent.
Elsewhere the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance also fell – in Gosport from 1,500 in 2010 to 560, Fareham from 1,300 to 435 and Havant from 2,600 to 1,005.
Flick Drummond, Portsmouth South MP, said the city’s job climate was key to enticing new investors and businesses to the area.
She said: ‘Now is absolutely the perfect time to invest in Portsmouth. We have got a really good skills confidence and hard-working population.
‘It’s a good time for businesses. Things are looking really positive for Portsmouth right now.’