Hampshire jobs boom as unemployment continues to fall

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NEW figures show there are almost 400 more people in work across the Portsmouth area than this time last year.

It comes as the latest batch of Labour Market Statistics reveal the number of people in jobs across the UK has surged to an all-time high.

Across the region, there are 4,538,000 people working – 64,000 more than the same period in 2016.

The figures are mirrored in the Portsmouth area, with 389 more people in work than 12 months ago.

Damian Green, the work and pensions secretary, welcomed the news.

He said: ‘With employment at its highest rate since records began, and unemployment at its lowest in over a decade, we remain in a position of strength.

‘Our ongoing welfare reforms will continue to incentivise work and make sure the system is fair to all those who need it and those who pay for it.

‘There’s good news in the south east where there is a record number of people in work at 4.54m and a record rate of women in work at 73.5 per cent.’

In Portsmouth, the number of people claiming JobSeeker’s Allowance fell from 2,304 in 2016 to 2,105 – a drop of one per cent.

Havant saw a decline of six per cent, falling from 1,160 to 1,085. Gosport also recorded a similar dip, with 600 people still claiming JobSeeker’s, down by three per cent from 620.

However, it was Fareham that recorded the most dramatic year-on-year decline, notching up a 20 per cent fall from 480 in 2016 to 385.

Lynne Grimes, customer services manager at Jobcentre Plus, said the figures were a glowing endorsement of the area’s jobs market.

‘These figures are absolutely heartwarming,’ she said. ‘We’re seeing people going to work who haven’t worked for years – typically people with significant barriers or health problems.’

Nationally, employment stands at a record rate of 74.6 per cent with 31.84m in work.

Unemployment remains at 4.8 per cent – the lowest rate for 11 years.