Number of Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants falls across Portsmouth area

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THE number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in the Portsmouth area has fallen again in the last month.

Out-of-work benefit claimants fell from 3,670 in March to 3,479 in April - a shift of 191 people.

The largest percentage drop was in Gosport, where the fall of 73 claimants to 953 represented a shift of 0.2 per cent.

In Havant, the number of Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants fell by 93 in April to 1,694.

And in Fareham, the number went down from 713 in March to 645 last month.

Commenting on the numbers, Kevin Briscoe, chairman of the Portsmouth area committee of Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, said: ‘It is very encouraging to see that these job figures are again going in the right direction and this illustrates the sort of feedback we hear from businesses in the south that things are improving slowly but surely.

‘We would of course like to see even fewer people unemployed and that should continue to be the case as businesses start to feel even more confidence about the future.

‘A lot of businesses have been through a very tough time in recent years and are reluctant to invest until they are sure that the economy is on the up again.

‘It looks like it is, but it takes time for confidence to return.’

Nationally, the number of people in work has reached a record high after further falls in unemployment, fuelled by more self-employment.

More than 30.4 million people are now in work - the highest since records began in 1971 - while self-employment has also reached a record high of 4.5 million.

The number of people working for themselves jumped by 183,000 in the quarter to March, compared with a rise of 375,000 over the past year.

Unemployment has fallen by 133,000 to 2.2 million, the lowest for five years, giving a jobless rate of 6.8 per cent.

Other data from the Office for National Statistics showed that Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants fell by 25,100 in April to 1.12m, the 18th consecutive monthly reduction.