1,200 fewer Plymouth people claim Jobseeker's Allowance
MORE than 1,200 people in Plymouth have stopped claiming Jobseeker's Allowance since last year's peak.
The high point came in February 2012, when there were 7,030 claimants – 1,260 more than were registered in December.
The city's figure now stands at 5,787, 0.3per cent below the national rate of 3.7per cent.
The number of people claiming the unemployment benefit has fallen by 610 since December 2011.
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Unemployment is still hitting the young hardest – though less badly than in some parts of the country.
In December last year 1,850 (5.6per cent) of those aged 18-24 were out of work and claiming JSA. Between December 2011 and December 2012 the number of 18-24-year-olds claiming the benefit fell by 395.
There was a big rise to a peak last February of 2,485, followed by a steady fall through most of 2012. The number of ESA and incapacity benefit claimants fell from 14,010 to 13,950 between November 2011 and February 2012. The city's working-age population stands at 169,700. With eight per cent of them claiming ESA and incapacity benefit, Plymouth is much worse off than the national figure of 6.4per cent.
The number of lone parents this month was 2,560, unchanged from November 2011 but substantially lower than the peak of 4,620 in 1999.
The average gross weekly wage in the city was £479.40 for full-time workers. There was a big difference between the sexes, with men on £529.40 and women on £430.10.
Hourly-paid workers earned £12.55 an hour (£13.60 for men and £11.64 for women).
Plymouth job-hunters faced a tough competition for jobs, compared with the rest of the country. Last November there were 1,044 unfilled Jobcentre vacancies, which meant that an average of 5.5 people were chasing every position. In the South West it was 2.5 people to every vacancy, and across the country 3.7.
Plymouth City Council Leader Tudor Evans said: "While it would give me great pleasure to say that these figures are a result of the new initiatives we have put in place since last May, since when we launched exciting initiatives such as our Plan for Jobs and the 1000 Club to help young people find work and support businesses, the impact of these won't have shown through yet.
"We have to be very cautious with these figures as not only are there seasonal variations, they only measure the number of people who are unemployed and claiming JSA, not the number of people who are unemployed. There's no question that the current economic course set by the Government is very damaging to the local economy.
"This is why the Council has made economic development its top priority and we will be continuing to work with our partners to attract investment into the city and help create good jobs."