Number of people looking for work continues to fall in Sunderland

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The number of people looking for work on Wearside has fallen again.

There were 4,614 people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance – paid only to those classed as actively looking for work – on Wearside last month, a fall of 118 on February’s figure of 4,732.

That represents a drop of 1,392 since last February, when there were 5,906 claimants in the city.

Across the region, the claimant count was down 1,100 year-on-year.

Jobcentre Plus’ Steve McCall said staff had made a concentrated effort to address youth unemployment in particular.

“We tend to look at the figures year-on-year, rather than month by month, which shows the claimant count is down by 11%,” he said.

“But if you look at the count for the 18-24 age bracket, it is down by 24% year-on-year, which is quite a significant achievement.

“We are seeing a good variety of jobs now.

“In the past, there have always been vacancies in the call centre and social care sectors, but we have recently seen an increase in variety across the board.”

The automotive sector was still critical to the Wearside jobs market, he added.

“We have seen recruitment from the likes of Vantec and, of course, Nissan.

“We recently had 165 people go through a sector-based work academy with Vantec, of whom 106 people have gone straight into work.

“There is also a lot of building work going on, not least with the bridge construction project and the retial and hospitality sectors are also big employers in the Sunderland area.”

Wearside has also seen a slight reversal of the loss of public sector jobs which has hit the region hard in recent years.

“Most of the growth in the jobs market has been in the private sector, but we are also seeing some public sector recruitment,” said Mr McCall.

“Hopefully that will continue in the next few months.”

North East Chamber of Commerce policy adviser Paul Carbert said: “The figures are definitely going in the right direction, but we are still lagging behind other regions in the North.

“However, it is good news that employment is at a record level, this fact coupled with the reduction in the unemployment rate are positive signs for the region.

“The positive trends are continuing with more people employed in the private sector, up 32,000 over the last 12 months.”