WEARSIDE is one of the worst places in the country to find a job, according to a new report.
Job search Website Adzuna has listed Sunderland as the third-worst city to find employment in the UK, with 53 Job Seekers Allowance claimants per job vacancy.
The report comes after think-tank Centre for Cities listed Wearside as one of the areas most vulnerable to employment, and the Local Data Company found Sunderland was in the top 10 for empty shops with one-in-four city centre units sitting empty.
Sunderland City Council leader Paul Watson questioned the methods used in the survey and highlighted the work being done to boost business and create jobs in the city.
He said: “Finding work is never easy when times are tough, but there is an on-going commitment across Sunderland to continue promoting and investing our city.
“We have had record levels of inward investment over the past 10 years. Thousands of jobs have been created and we’re confident that this can continue.
“The city council and its partners are continuing to help create new jobs, improve educational achievement, increase investment and work towards further improvements.”
Coun Watson said the council had just announced £60million-worth of major projects in the city in its budget for 2012/13. These include a new £11million leisure centre in Washington and millions of pounds to develop the city centre. He said these will lever-in more private sector development.
He added: “There are (also) further developments and investments in the automotive, software, manufacturing sectors, as well as with service sector posts, that are going to boost job creation.”
The council boss criticised Adzuna’s research in determining Sunderland’s jobs ranking, which has improved slightly from last year when the city ranked second worst.
Coun Watson said the survey judgements were based on the number of vacancies per classified advert, which was a flawed way of examining the situation.
He said: “Not all jobs are advertised in this way and in certain sectors, such as leisure and retail, and in certain parts of the country, there’s a very high turnover of posts and a single post could well be advertised up to three times a year.”
Coun Watson did, however, agree with Adzuna’s findings in terms of the huge variation in prospects for job seekers across the country and the need for policy-makers to ensure unemployed people were in the best possible position to gain jobs available.
He said: “The survey highlights regional imbalances in the UK economy so it shows how important it is that we in the North East fight for our corner when it comes to the very limited funds that Government is making available for regeneration and jobs.”
A poor level of basic literacy and numeracy skills is hampering many Wearsiders from gaining work, claims Sunderland Conservatives leader Robert Oliver.
He said: “The story here is that some cities are more resilient than others during a downturn with pockets of prosperity throughout the UK concentrated on knowledge-based jobs such as IT, finance and marketing.
“The root of the problem in Sunderland is the low level of basic skills which is due to academic under performance in schools and a lack of focus on the booming sectors of the economy when it comes to education.”