MORE than 40 jobseekers are going for every vacancy in Sunderland shocking new figures reveal.
Research has branded the city the second worst in the country for people trying to find work with 42 applying for every position available.
In Newcastle that figures is slashed to just four.
The worst area in the UK is Hull, which has 51 people applying for every job.
Today, the North East Chamber of Commerce admitted it remained a “challenging” time for both the jobless and businesses, although some sectors were creating more employment opportunities than others.
Chief executive James Ramsbotham said: “More job opportunities are required across all sectors, but there are vacancies out there in some specific areas, with individuals that have experience of engineering and manufacturing highly prized.”
National jobsearch website Adzuna ranked the top 50 cities in the UK by comparing the vacancies in its search index of 500,000 available jobs to the number of claimants in each city from the latest Office for National Statistics data.
The firm also analysed the distribution of job titles and categories to determine which positions are in most demand.
However, council bosses argue the figures are “misleading” and do not take into account the employment opportunities across the whole city, only “one specific area”.
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Councillor Harry Trueman, deputy leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “The actual number of Job Seeker’s Allowance claimants for every job centre notified vacancy in Sunderland is 5.8 compared to a regional average of 7.3, while we continue to promote both employment and investment opportunities within our city.
“This week alone the city council is working with employers in Sunderland to fill over 400 vacancies with a contact centre recruitment.
“We have continued to attract significant new investment, with more than 40 private-sector investment projects in the last two years creating more than 4,000 jobs and we have one of the country’s first new Enterprise Zones.
“Far from struggling with the difficult economic climate Sunderland is actually well placed to recover with the an economic masterplan in place to drive future employment opportunities forward.
“Another national report from the independent economic experts ‘Centre for Cities’ recenty recognised that Sunderland has actually been more robust and resilient and are recovering faster than most cities.”
Denise Wilson, trust secretary at Springboard in Sunderland, one of the largest and longest established training providers in the North East, also stressed the importance of boosting skills and employment opportunities in the area.
“It’s a very difficult economic situation with so many people chasing so few vacancies and its especially the case for young people aged 16-24 who have no or limited work experience,” she said.
“It’s a shame because people in this age group are the work force of the future.”
School and college chiefs urged jobseekers to “stay positive” in their search for work.
Michelle Elliott, head of department for employer and employability provision at Sunderland College, said: “We recognise just how hard it is right now for people to find work but it’s important to stay positive.
“The college runs a number of free courses designed to train out of work adults in the key skills needed by businesses in the area. These pre-employment courses not only provide learners with industry specific training but also look at interview techniques and CV writing.”
Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, said: “Jobseekers, particularly young people and graduates, should be looking to arm themselves with data to help them target their job search in parts of Britain where they have the best possible chance of finding work.”
The study follows the release of government figures which revealed that last month the number of people looking for work on Wearside fell to its lowest level in almost a year-and-a-half.
There were 10,017 people receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance – and, therefore, classed as actively looking for a job – in the Sunderland City Council area in December.
It represents a drop of 163 month-on-month and is the lowest figure since July 2011, when there were 9,921 Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants in the city.
Sunderland’s claimant rate is 5.3 per cent, slightly better than the regional rate of 5.5 per cent but still significantly higher than the national average of 3.7 per cent.