Future looking positive as unemployment figures fall in city

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THE number of people claiming unemployment benefits in Portsmouth is down 25 per cent on a year ago.

Monthly figures from The Office for National Statistics, released this morning, show 1,985 people in the city were claiming out-of-work-benefits in December, down from 1,993 in November.

The numbers were up slightly in Fareham, Gosport and Havant, but the changes were expected.

In Gosport, the increase waas from 571 from 579.

The amount of people claiming out-of-work benefits in Fareham was up to 431, from 425.

And in Havant there were 1,115 claims, up from 1,079.

Leone Hill, employer account manager at JobCentre Plus in Portsmouth, said: ‘There is a very slight increase in Fareham, Gosport and Havant but I would not be worried because there is always slight change month to month.

‘If you look back on last year’s figures we are way down – Fareham was 11 per cent higher, Gosport 21 per cent and Havant 13 per cent.

‘Portsmouth is 25 per cent down on last year which is a very positive picture.

‘We have seen quite a few openings over the last year all around the area.

‘Tescos, B&M and Premier Inn have all opened.

‘And HMRC took a lot of people on in the summer.’

Lots of smaller businesses have opened and recruited in the past year too.

She added: ‘We will continue to see quite a few new opportunities for people.’

Across the UK unemployment has fallen to a near eight-year low and a record number of people are in work, official figures have shown.

The jobless total fell by 99,000 in the three months to November to 1.6m.

Employment Minister Priti Patel said: ‘This is a record-breaking set of figures and has got 2016 off to a fantastic start.

‘There are now more people in work than ever before and wages are growing - a credit to hard-working Brits and businesses alike.

‘And in a further demonstration of the strength of the UK labour market, today’s figures show there are a record three-quarters of a million vacancies.’