THE number of people looking for jobs in Hartlepool has gone up slightly last month.
There were 2,579 people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance - paid to those actively seeking a job - in January compared to 2,532 in December.
In Easington the figure for the same period went up from 1,646 to 1,694 and in Sedgefield there was also an increase from 1,262 to 1,270.
In the Stockton North constituency, which includes Billingham, parts of Wynyard and Wolviston, it rose from 2,440 to 2,525.
These rises are before the figures have been seasonally adjusted, taking Christmas jobs into account.
In the North East the figures show the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance went up from 50,805 in December 2014 to 52,494 in January this year, however the seasonally adjusted figures put the number down to 49,200. This is a big drop compared to January 2014 when the figure was 71,700.
The trend of year-on-year falls in the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance is the same in most areas of the region, with January 2014’s figures showing 3,961 claimed the benefit in Hartlepool, 2,587 in Easington, 2,006 in Sedgefield and 3,583 in Stockton North.
Cath Robson, Hartlepool senior employer and partnership manager for the Department of Work and Pensions, said she is delighted with the figures for the town.
She said: “Things are definitely looking up in Hartlepool, Everything is on the right trend.”
Mrs Robson said the employment rate in the town has gone up to 62.2 per cent and the number of job vacancies is at a record high of 87.
North East Chamber of Commerce policy and research manager, Mark Stephenson, said: “The figures continue the great start to 2015 we saw established in January.
“Every indicator is heading in the right direction and over 43,000 more people in work than this time last year.
“Employment is at a record high for the third successive month thanks mostly to businesses, while unemployment is at its lowest in over five years – down 23,000 on a year ago. The claimant count continues its long term decrease.
“The unemployment rate dropped as fast as anywhere in the country while the increase in employment was bettered only by one other region.”