THE number of people looking for work in Sunderland has fallen below the 6,000 mark for the first time in more than six years.
There were 5,865 people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance – paid only to those classed as actively on the look-out for a job – in the city last month, the lowest figure since July 2008.
The drop makes November the 10th consecutive month to see a fall and means the number of people claiming the benefit has fallen by 2,132 over the course of the year.
The positive news was reflected across the North East, with employment up 13,000 over the last three months and of 26,000 over the year.
North East Chamber of Commerce policy and research manager Mark Stephenson said: “December’s labour market figures are a strong finish to a positive year, with every indicator heading in the right direction.
“Recent figures show the North East economy grew ahead of the national average during 2013 and we are increasing our rate of export faster than any other region – all signs point to a confident and active private sector.
“Nevertheless, our unemployment rate remains snagged above one per cent and it appears that changing this in a meaningful way will require a determined effort.
“It is important we do not lose focus on the unemployment rate which is unacceptably high.”