Wearside's jobless figure is falling

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The number of people looking for work in Sunderland fell by almost 200 last month.

The number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance – paid only to those classed as actively looking for work – fell by 198, from 4,942 in November, to 4,744.

Year-on-year, the claimant count was down by more than 770, from 5,518 in December 2014.

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Across the wider North East, the claimant count stood at 47,700, or 3.9%, compared to a national rate of 2.3%.

Paul Carbert, policy advisor at the North East Chamber of Commerce, said: “After the particularly worrying labour statistics released towards the end of last year, it certainly looks as though our region is starting to turn a corner.

The North East has seen the largest rise in employment in the country, reporting 1.7% over the last three months.

North East LEP economist Fiona Thom said: “It is important to be cautious when interpreting short- term fluctuations in labour market data.

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“Economic inactivity has also fallen in the last three months as more people move into employment, which is good news as this is a key focus of the strategic economic plan, through supporting people back into economic activity.

“Over the longer term, economic inactivity remains fairly constant, but the reasons for the inactivity are changing, with an increasing proportion of people looking after family and or home and the proportion of those with ill-health, which is a key challenge in the North East, slowly falling.

“This is good news, with more people in work.”