THE number of people claiming Job Seekers’ Allowance in the area has decreased, figures show.
Statistics for March reveal that 16,501 people across Hampshire were claiming the benefit – a drop of 369 on the previous month.
In Portsmouth, there were 10 fewer people claiming unemployment benefit, with the figure now standing at 4,941
In East Hampshire, jobless levels have dropped from 1,105 to 1,036.
In Fareham, claimants went down 18, to 1,254.
And in Gosport the number fell by 33, to 1,489.
Finally, in Havant, the number of jobless people fell by 14 to 2,304.
It echoes the national picture, where the unemployment rate fell unexpectedly to 7.8 per cent in the three months to February.
That compared with a rate of 7.9 per cent in the three months to November and eight per cent in the three months to January.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS), which compiled the figures, said the number of unemployed in Britain fell by 17,000 to 2.48 million people in the three months to February, compared with the three months to November.
However, the number of unemployed aged 18 to 24 jumped 12,000 to 963,000.
In a statement, the ONS said: ‘The unemployment rate for the three months to February 2011 was 7.8 per cent of the economically active population.’