UNEMPLOYMENT has fallen ‘dramatically’ over the past year, the latest figures show.
In Portsmouth last month, although the jobless total was up slightly on January, there was a 21 per cent decrease in the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) compared with February 2015.
We have seen a 21 per cent drop in unemployment claims since this time last year which is absolutely fantasticEd Coomber
And youth unemployment is down.
The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics show employment has increased by more than 270,000 across the south east since 2010.
Ed Coomber is the work services manager at Portsmouth’s Job Centre Plus.
Mr Coomber said: ‘We have seen a 21 per cent drop in unemployment claims in Portsmouth since this time last year, which is absolutely fantastic.
‘It is a slight increase on last month (1.6 per cent at 2,240) but that’s to be expected at this time of year.
‘All the seasonal jobs come to an end in January and people make new JSA claims in February.
‘It is the standard pattern. It’s still very positive compared to last year.
‘Year-on-year, it’s dropping dramatically.’
Mr Coomber explained youth unemployment is down 31 per cent on this time last year.
‘It’s a massive drop’, he said.
‘There are simply more jobs out there because the economy is doing well at the moment.
‘And wages are increasing. Things are looking good.’
In Fareham, the jobless total is 480 claimants, up 0.7 per cent.
In Gosport there were 625 JSA claimants last month, up 1.2 per cent on January.
And in Havant and Waterlooville the number of people claiming unemployment benefits in February was 1,185, up 1.6 per cent from the previous month.
Nationally, the outlook is good.
Unemployment is at its lowest rate for a decade – 5.1 per cent.
There are currently 31.2m people in work.
Priti Patel is the Conservative employment minister.
She said: ‘This is another strong set of figures showing private sector employment at the highest since records began, wages rising and a near record number of job vacancies available in the UK economy.
‘This strength is a real credit to hard-working people and businesses alike.
‘There’s really good news for the south east – employment has increased by over 270,000 since 2010, and it has the second-highest employment rate of all the UK regions, at 77.9 per cent.
‘With unemployment now standing at 5.1 per cent – half the Eurozone average – it’s clear that we are delivering on our promise to support people to get on in life and create greater economic security for all.’