Figures show rise in unemployment rate in Portsmouth, Gosport and Fareham

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UNEMPLOYMENT rates have risen slightly in Portsmouth, Fareham and Gosport for the first time in 10 years.

However, the number of people claiming JobSeeker’s Allowance in Havant dropped from 998 to 985.

Portsmouth’s figure rose from 1,895 last month to 1,910, Gosport from 535 to 555 and Fareham from 420 to 450.

The figures were still down on last year; Portsmouth was 12 per cent down, Gosport 15 per cent lower, Havant six per cent lower and Fareham two per cent lower.

Leone Hill, account manager at Portsmouth’s JobCentre, said: ‘I’m pleased that today’s figures continue the downward trend compared to this time last year.

‘The proportion of young people who are unemployed and claiming benefit continues to fall and across the south east is close to the lowest on record.

‘The south east has the highest employment rate of any UK region, and over 4.5m people in work.

‘Locally, Jobcentre Plus continues to work with employers, large and small, across Portsmouth, Havant, Fareham and Gosport to help fill vacancies across all sectors.’

She said that Christmas recruitment starts next month. A jobs fair will be held on Thursday, September 15 at Cascades Shopping Centre in Portsmouth where 16 employers will be recruiting for seasonal job opportunities. The event will run from 10am to 3.30pm.

On September 28, an Opportunities Fair for people in Paulsgrove and Wymering will also be held at the Hillside and Wymering Centre from 10am to 12.30pm.

Nationally, unemployment continued to fall in the run-up to Britain’s vote to leave the European Union and there was a record number of people in work.

The employment rate reached a record high of 74.5 per cent, with 31.8m people in work in the three months to June - 172,000 more than the previous quarter.

A total of 1.64 million people are unemployed - a fall of 52,000 over the quarter and 207,000 down compared with a year ago, giving a jobless rate of 4.9 per cent.

The jobless total is now at its lowest for eight years, while the unemployment rate is at its lowest since the summer of 2005, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The claimant count, including those on Jobseeker’s Allowance, fell by 8,600 to 763,000 in the period after the Brexit vote between June and July.

However, the claimant count rose by 900 between May and June, the ONS said.

Job vacancies were down 7,000 between May and July to 741,000, a period briefly covering Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.

Average earnings increased by 2.4 per cent in the year to June, 0.1 per cent up on the previous month.

ONS statistician David Freeman said: ‘The labour market continued on a strong trend in the second quarter of 2016, with a new record employment rate.

‘However, little of today’s data cover the period since the result of the EU referendum became known, with only claimant count and vacancies going beyond June - to July for the former and to May-July for the latter.’

Other figures showed that the number of people classed as economically inactive has fallen by 58,000 to 8.8m in the quarter, the lowest figure for 13 years.

Employment Minister Damian Hinds said: ‘These record-breaking figures show that there are more people in work than ever before, which is great news as we build a Britain that works for everybody, not just the privileged few.

‘We’re in a position of strength, but we can’t be complacent, which is why we’re pressing ahead with our welfare reforms like Universal Credit to ensure it always pays for people to be in work.

‘The job now is to build on this success story so that everybody can benefit from the opportunities that are being created regardless of who they are or where they come from.’