THE number of people looking for work on Wearside fell last month.
There were 5,885 people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance – paid to those classed as actively seeking a job – in January 2015, compared to 5,518 in December last year.
However, this figure does not include the seasonal adjustment for those doing Christmas jobs.
The latest figures also show year on year there has been a drop in the number of people claiming the benefit with 7,997 in January 2014.
In the North East, the figures show the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance went up from 50,805 in December 2014, to 52,494 in January this year, however, the seasonally-adjusted figures put the number down to 49,200.
This is a big drop compared to January 2014 when the figure was 71,700.
Headline figures for the North East show employment in the region stands at 1,157,000, or 70 per cent, which is a rise of 19,000 over the quarter and increase of 43,000 over the year.
Unemployment stands at 102,000 or eight per cent, a fall of 15,000 over the quarter, and 23,000 over the year.
Cath Robson, a regional senior employment and partnership officer with the Department for Work and Pensions, said: “Sunderland is following the regional trend. Things are getting better.”
North East Chamber of Commerce policy and research manager, Mark Stephenson, said: “Today’s figures continue the great start to 2015 we saw established in January.
“Every indicator is heading in the right direction and over 43,000 more people in work than this time last year.
“Employment is at a record high for the third successive month thanks mostly to businesses, while unemployment is at its lowest in over five years – down 23,000 on a year ago.
“The claimant count continues its long-term decrease. While the North East unemployment rate remains too high, moving to eight per cent, represents a huge symbolic victory.
“In spite of the economic progress we have seen in the past two years, regional unemployment has remained largely static, so to see it falling significantly in recent months is very encouraging.
“The unemployment rate dropped as fast as anywhere in the country, while the increase in employment was bettered only by one other region.
“The North East business community has made the majority of this progress possible in the context of continuing retrenchment in the public sector, which just goes to underline the necessity for pro-business public policy placing a premium on development, investment, employment and growth.
“Ahead of a forthcoming budget and general election, it is vital that political parties understand and safeguard the role that businesses play for the well-being of our country.”