THE number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in Portsmouth and south-east Hampshire has fallen.
Nationally, the largest annual fall in unemployment since 1988 was recorded.
In Portsmouth, 76 fewer people claimed the benefit in August compared to July, falling to 2,892.
In Gosport, 748 people claimed the out-of-work benefit in August, compared with 780 in July.
In Havant, 1,349 people were on Jobseeker’s Allowance, a fall of 65 claimants to 1,349.
And in Fareham, the number went from 780 to 748.
It means 0.8 per cent of adults in the borough are claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, compared to 2.7 in Portsmouth, 1.4 per cent in Gosport and 1.9 per cent in Havant.
Stewart Dunn, Hampshire Chamber of Commerce’s chief executive, said: ‘These positive labour market figures exemplify a trend towards more business confidence in Portsmouth and elsewhere over the past year or so. Ministers must not, however, take their eyes off the ball.
‘We need to see a continuing growth strategy based on enabling businesses to create new jobs. That means cutting red tape, ensuring more support for exports and investment, improved access to finance for small firms, and a reformed system of business rates.’
Many businesses have reported an increase in confidence in the economy and have been able to take on more staff in recent months.
Kevin Briscoe, owner of Briscoe French PR in Sarisbury Green, who is also chairman of Hampshire Chamber of Commerce’s Portsmouth and South East Hampshire Area Committee, said: ‘It is encouraging to see that the number of jobless people in Portsmouth, Fareham, Gosport and Havant continues to fall.
‘The reduction in August is quite small but the statistics are at least heading in the right direction.
‘If we can continue to see confidence returning to businesses throughout the region then I am hopeful we will see further decreases in the months to come.’
Across the country, there are now 30.61m people in work, 74,000 more than February to April, the smallest quarterly increase since mid-2013. The number of people working part-time rose 52,000 to 6.76m from a year ago.