THE drop in Wearside’s unemployment rate slowed to a virtual halt last month.
The number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance across Sunderland has fallen every month from February’s three-year high of 10,969.
But between July and August, the number of claimants fell by just seven, down from 10,156 to 10,149.
Coming on the back of a fall of 65 between June and July, it means the claimant total is down by just 72 in two months – after a drop the previous month of 65.
Across the North East, the claimant count stands at 93,500 or 7.7 per cent, compared to 4.8 per cent nationally.
North East Chamber of Commerce director of policy, Ross Smith, welcomed a continued fall in the number of people looking for work in the region. However, he warned against complacency.
“There is encouragement to be gained in these figures with all statistical changes going in the right direction this month
“We particularly welcome the news that employment is up to its highest point in two years, and year-on-year is growing quicker than for the UK as a whole.
“Unemployment remains significantly higher than two years ago, but appears to be on a downward trend and is again moving quicker here than for the rest of the UK.
“The slight caveat is that this decrease seems to have stalled both regionally and nationally this month, but longer term trends are more reliable and the 11,000 fall in the North East over the quarter is excellent news.
“These figures tally with our own research. Workforce scores in NECC’s Quarterly Economic Survey have been optimistic this year, emphasising that these positive changes are driven by the private sector in the face of continuing public sector cutbacks.
“This makes any positive movement an even bigger achievement for the region’s businesses, given the relative size of the sectors here prior to 2010.”