Unemployment at a five-year low in the Portsmouth area

Job Centre Plus in central Portsmouth     Picture by Chris Ison/PA Wire
Job Centre Plus in central Portsmouth Picture by Chris Ison/PA Wire
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UNEMPLOYMENT has reached a five-year low across the Portsmouth area, new figures show.

Official labour market statistics released today show that the number of people claiming jobseeker’s allowance is down to the lowest figures since reaching a high in 2010.

In Portsmouth, the number of claimants has gone down by around 28 per cent in the last year – from 2,737 in January 2015 to 2,124 last month.

More than 5,000 people in the city were claiming jobseeker’s allowance in 2010 at the height of the recession.

The percentage of young people aged 18 to 24 who are unemployed has also fallen even more over the past 12 months.

In Portsmouth the number of young people claiming jobseeker’s allowance is down 36 per cent compared with this time last year.

The downward trend is mirrored across other local authority areas.

These figures show the number of claimants last month and the number a year ago in brackets: Havant 1,158 (1,351); Gosport 621 (767); Fareham 474 (526); East Hampshire 464 (470); Chichester 538 (732); Winchester 387 (390).

The South East average is one per cent of the working population unemployed. Havant, Portsmouth and Gosport are just above that average with 1.6 per cent, 1.5 per cent and 1.2 per cent respectively.

The other local authority areas are below this average.

Male unemployment continues to be an issue.

More than double the amount of men to women are unemployed in Portsmouth, with 1,421 male claimants.

The trend is mirrored in Havant where 729 of the 1,158 claimants are men.

Leone Hill, employer account manager for the Department for Work and Pensions for the Portsmouth area, was pleased with the latest unemployment figures.

‘The general trend is down which is fantastic,’ she said.

‘We are finding a lot more opportunities for young people now.’

The figures show a slight increase on December, but this is usual after Christmas, said Mrs Hill.

She added: ‘We have seen quite a lot of new opportunities over the last year.

‘We have got a new Tesco, a new B&M at Farlington, HMRC have taken on a lot of people and we have seen a new Premier Inn open.

‘There have been a lot of new companies opening that have probably taken on people in the 18-24 age group.’

She said the opening of a new retail park in Havant and the business development at Dunsbury Hill Farm near Leigh Park would further boost the jobs market.

A jobs and apprenticeship fair takes place this Friday at Warblington School, in Havant, between 10am and 4pm. Entry and parking are free and no prior registration is needed.

Mrs Hill said a number of big local employers would have stalls at the fair.