Out-of-work claims down to six-year low in Portsmouth area

The number of people on benefits has fallen
The number of people on benefits has fallen

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THE number of people claiming jobseeker’s allowance has fallen to the lowest rate since August 2008.

Last month, 3,060 people claimed the out-of-work benefit compared with 3,326 in May – a fall of 266 claimants in one month.

Havant saw the largest fall percentage wise in the one-month period, going down by 0.3 per cent to 1,454 in June.

Gosport’s claimant rate went from 893 people in May to 783 in June – a fall of 111.

And in Fareham, 554 people claimed jobseeker’s allowance in June compared to 570 in the previous month.

Helen Edmunds, senior partnership manager for the Solent for Jobcentre Plus, said the area has got a strong and growing labour market.

She told The News: ‘I have been talking to a colleague who works on the Portsmouth patch and I asked her what is making the difference.

‘We think it is a combination of an increasingly buoyant labour market and more targeted work with our customers.

‘There is not one particular organisation that has produced a large amount of vacancies. What we have got across retail, service and care sectors are the sorts of jobs that are entry-level and easy to get into, but employees can quickly work their way up.

‘In retail especially, places like supermarkets offer good hours and flexibility.

‘They help people who need flexible hours to get a job.

‘That’s the sort of work that our customers have been really happy to get.

‘If they have been out of work for some time, their skills might be rusty and they may be low in confidence.’

Asked about the type of people being helped into work by job centres in and around the city, Ms Edmunds said many of those now getting into work are people who have been classed as the long-term unemployed.

‘We have got a good labour market growing here, but we have to make sure that everybody has got the skills to enter it.

‘The government is doing a lot to focus on people who may have been left behind in the past.’

She added: ‘We find activities for people to do to help them keep up their energy for finding work and to build their confidence in the work place.’