Rise in jobless across Hampshire

Sedgley Close, in Southsea, where police are investigating a stabbing which happened around 4am today.

Residents speak of shock after Southsea stabbing

Unemployment in some local areas is falling, leading to hopes that the recession is thawing in Hampshire.

Havant saw the biggest drop, with 2,690 jobless in May, down by 119 on April's figure.

In Fareham last month there were 28 fewer people claiming unemployment benefits than the month before, taking the figure to 1,339.

Gosport's claimant count over the same period dropped by nine to 1,530.

Chichester fell too, from 1,583 in April to 1,571 in May but East Hampshire, including Petersfield, saw a rise from 1,377 to 1,386.

However, the number of people out of work in Portsmouth went up by 57, and now stands at 5,285. Across Hampshire there was also a rise, from 19,092 to 19,145.

Malcolm Hyde, regional CBI director, said the news was 'encouraging', but that he still expected the current national figure of 2.6m unemployed to pass the 3m mark before the recession ends.

He said: 'What's been typical of this recession is companies have made the decision to let staff go early.

'What happened in the past was this process was more elongated, so it could be that they've seen a short sharp shock. Or it could be that it just depends what sort of sectors there are in these areas.'

Gail McMillan, manager of the Portsmouth Community Legal Advice Centre, which gives advice to many victims of unemployment, said it had yet to see any let-up.

She said: 'I've spoken to my advisers to ask them what their clients are saying, and they say there's no optimism about economic improvement, and if anything people are feeling as un-optimistic any time throughout the credit crunch.'

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