THE number of people classed as officially looking for work on Wearside fell again last month to its lowest level in six years.
There were 6,584 people receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance – paid to those classed as officially looking for work – in the city last month, the lowest level since September 2008’s 6,433.
Across the North East, the number of people in work was up 32,000 over the year – but actually fell by 11,000 over the three months to June.
North East Chamber of Commerce policy and research manager Mark Stephenson said: “The latest figures provide a mixed picture with quarterly employment falling for the first time this year, albeit growing strongly on 12 months ago.
“The rise in unemployment is a cause for concern. The North East is struggling to reverse the rate of unemployment and addressing this has to be an urgent priority for regional and national policy makers.
“The North East’s relatively modest levels of business start-ups when compared to other UK regions means people are generally moving into work with existing businesses.” Jobcentre Plus employer engagement manager Steve McCall played down the quarterly rise in jobless figures.
“We tend to look at the year-on-year figures,” he said.
“There are a fair number of jobs out there in things like contact centres, hospitality and care, and we are starting to get some retail jobs coming through now for Christmas.”
Skills academy projects across the region were helping to match employers with staff: “They tell us what they want, we get people who have potential, put them through a short training course and then they do a work placement and get a guaranteed interview.”