UNEMPLOYMENT in the Portsmouth region has fallen for the first time this year.
According to figures released this morning by the Office of National Statistics, the biggest fall in numbers of people claiming Jobseekers Allowance is in Havant.
In March 2,768 people claimed the benefit compared to 2,822 in February - a fall of 54.
In Portsmouth, there are 34 fewer people on benefit, as the figure for the city fell from 5,538 to 5,504.
Chichester’s numbers fell by 33, from 1,515 in February to 1,482 in March.
And Gosport’s benefit claimants totalled 1,774 in March from 1,806 in February - a fall of 32.
In east Hampshire, one person stopped claiming the benefit in March, leaving the total at 1,140.
In Fareham, however, there was a rise in unemployment.
1,395 people claimed Jobseekers Allowance in March, compared to 1,366 in February - a rise of 29.
The figures were released just a day after new research was revealed which predicts the by the end of 2012 almost one million people will have been out of work for a year or more.
Tony Dolphin, chief economist of the the IPPR think tank, which carried out the research, said: ‘Unemployment is not going to fall until the middle of 2013 and the number of people out of work for more than a year is going to grow to almost a million the end of this year.
‘The longer someone is unemployed, the less likely they are to ever return to work.’