THE number of people looking for work in Sunderland has fallen to its lowest level this year.
But the rate at which Wearside’s jobless total is dropping has slowed.
There were 10,156 people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in the city last month, with July recording the fifth successive fall since February’s high of 10,969.
But the number of people receiving the benefit dropped by just 65 between June and July, after four successive three-figure reductions.
Across the North East, there were 94,000 people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, down 14,000 over three months, an unemployment rate of 7.7 per cent, almost double the national average.
North East Chamber of Commerce head of member relations Jonathan Walker said: “The unemployment figures are heading in the right direction.
“A drop of 14,000 in the quarter is significant and must be welcomed, but the number of people actually finding work seems to have reached a, hopefully temporary, plateau. Our Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) shows our members are still creating jobs and both manufacturing and the service sector experiencing periods of growth.”
Neil Foster, policy and campaigns officer for the Northern TUC said: “Behind today’s headline job figures is the startling revelation that there are now 18,000 fewer people in full-time jobs in the North East than there were a year ago.
“This confirms our experience on the ground that a struggling economy is seeing significant numbers of people trapped in part-time jobs and zero-hour contracts despite needing full-time employment.
“Part-time work might be taking people off the Government’s jobseeker lists but it is barely enough to provide sufficient household income to keep heads above water.”
Banking giant Barclays has launched a national apprentice recruitment drive.
Christine Allenson, site president and head of customer service at the firm’s offices at Doxford International, said: “We know there are lots of young people who are finding it difficult to find work because they might not have experience.
“That’s why our apprenticeship programme can help by giving them a salary and training to kick-start their career, even if they’ve not worked before.
“We’ve got 20 fantastic apprentices already working in Sunderland who are doing an outstanding job.
“We are recruiting another six in August and will have even more places in the months ahead. We want people to apply and our doors are wide open.”
Barclays is recruiting 1,000 apprentices this year and is looking for people aged 16 to 24 even if they have no prior experience or qualifications.
Barclays apprentices receive a full salary, support and training, and everyone who successfully completes the programme is guaranteed a permanent role.
For more information, phone 03332 409 719.