Figures show rise in unemployment

Smoke in the air in Southsea was because of fire exercises

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UNEMPLOYMENT has risen across the region, figures have revealed.

Figures from the Office of National Statistics show that there were more claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance in Portsmouth, Havant, Gosport, Fareham, east Hampshire and Chichester in January than in December.

The rise mirrors the national picture, where unemployment has reached a 16-year high, with 6.68million people out of work - a rise of 48,000.

In Portsmouth, 216 more people are claiming benefit, from 5,196 in December to 5,412 in January.

Havant showed the next highest increase, with 195 more people now on benefit. That’s a rise from 2,510 in December to 2,705 in January.

Fareham’s figures rose by 103, from 1,168 to 1,271.

Gosport’s rose by 90 claimants, from 1,618 in December to 1,708 in January.

For east Hampshire, the rise was 81, from 1,027 in December to 1,108 in January.

And in Chichester, 67 more people are claiming unemployment benefit, from 1,142 in December to 1,479 in January.

The 48,000 increase in national unemployment was the smallest quarterly rise since last summer and less than forecast.

The government said the figures showed that despite continuing economic challenges, the labour market was stabilising.

The minister for welfare reform Lord Freud said: ‘The latest figures show some encouraging signs of stability despite the challenging economic climate.

‘With more people in employment and a rise in vacancies, it is clear the private sector is still creating jobs.

‘However, we are not complacent. With more people in the labour market we know that competition for those jobs is tough and we will continue to make it our priority to find people work.’

The latest ONS data also shows that employment rose by 60,000 in the final quarter of 2011 to 29 million, inflated by increased part-time jobs.

A record number of people are working part-time because they cannot find full-time jobs.