THE number of people looking for work on Wearside has risen for the first time in six months.
There were 10,226 people receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance across the city in September.
Last month’s figure was a rise of 77 on August’s 10,149 and the highest in the city since February, when there were 10,969 people classed as actively looking for work.
The number of Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants in Sunderland had fallen every month since then, though the rate of decrease had slowed significantly between June and August.
Across the region, the overall picture was healthier, with North East unemployment standing at 129,000 – a fall of 11,000 over the quarter and 14,000 over the year.
North East Chamber of Commerce (NECC) Director of Policy, Ross Smith, said: “It is encouraging that the job statistics are moving in the right direction, with more people finding jobs as regional unemployment continues to fall at a pace that outstrips the UK average.
“These figures back up the findings of the most recent NECC Quarterly Economic Survey, which showed businesses growing their workforce faster than any point since recession began in 2008.
“North East employment levels are now at their highest rate for two years and unemployment at its lowest level for 15 months.
“The gap between the North East and national rates for both indicators that had opened up in that time has now closed as well.
“This is a clear demonstration that our private sector is overcoming the impact of public sector job losses over the last two years.
“It is vital we maintain our current trajectory. There is still a three percentage point gap on employment with pre-recession levels, which is similar to the rest of the UK, and shows there is more work to be done on labour market issues.”
Northern TUC Regional Secretary Kevin Rowan said: “This quarter’s drop in unemployment is a welcome announcement, despite it yet again leaving the North East with the highest unemployment in the UK.
“What we know on the ground is many of these jobs being created are low-paid and part-time when many people need full-time work.
“With around 90 per cent of the government’s planned cuts still to be implemented, I have real fears that even a modest recovery will not be able to easily withstand their impact. ”