In modern times, vinyl taps into the jobless stats

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If the figures are to be believed, there are 500 more people in work this month in the greater Portsmouth area than there were in January.

Good news, on the face of it.

That means there are 500 men and women no longer claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance.

It’s potentially even better news for this area when you discover the figure nationally was 7,000. The rest of the country ought to be beating a path to south-east Hampshire and West Sussex to find out how we do it.

Let’s be charitable and assume those 500 lucky people have indeed found proper jobs and haven’t simply stopped claiming the dole.

One thing that has become clear in this roller coaster recession of more dips than the precursor to a supper party, is that small has again become beautiful.

People are turning their backs against the multi-nationals. When they have a little disposable cash to spend they want to hand it over to the little man or woman, traders they know and trust.

They are also, seemingly, turning back the clock to a perceived era of happier, carefree days.

Which is where Rob Litchfield and Steve Courtnell come in.

Because, in the depths of economic disaster, they have found work in a niche field, a specialist area.

As we report today they have opened Pie & Vinyl in Southsea. It’s little more than a year old and is a throwback to the hedonistic days of the 1970s when buying a record was an experience. It meant vinyl, the chance to listen before buying while sprawled on beanbags sipping Turkish coffee.

Rob and Steve appear to have got it spot on. Apart from cashing in on the vinyl revival, they sell a wide range of pies and posters and supply magazines and newspapers.

And the punters love it because the store has just been voted the best independent record shop in the country. It comes before Record Store Day on Saturday – a celebration of those wonderful old shops now coming back into fashion.

It’s entrepreneurship like Rob’s and Steve’s which might well be setting the pace in reducing those jobless figures by such a proportionately huge figure.