Jobless down as Weston smashes national average figures

PUBLISHED: 13:32 26 August 2014

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WESTON'S unemployment levels have fallen by more than a third over the past year to their lowest number in almost six years.

The recession was only just taking hold in September 2008, the last time the number of Jobseekers’ Allowance (JSA) claimants was below the current figure of 1,276.

Unemployment, measured within the constituency, has dropped from 1,992 a year ago to leave just two per cent of adults aged between 16 and 64 on the claimants list, compared with 2.4 per cent nationally.

Tim Cowley, employer and partnering manager for the Department of Work and Pensions in North Somerset, said: “We have seen more activity in the economy over the past year and that is reflected in these results.

“Tourism and the casual industry is an important factor in North Somerset and particuarly in that although it is seasonal, it’s useful for people who maybe haven’t had a previous employer and helps them develop their CVs.”

Initiatives across the district have helped North Somerset get people back into employment, including a course alongside Weston College called Ngage, which has drawn national recognition for its work.

Mr Cowley said: “We’d like to think a lot of the things we have been doing and how we work with partners has helped.

“We have close links with Weston College and through the Ngage scheme, more than 65 per cent of people have gone into work either directly or following further training, which is unprecedented.”

JSA claimant figures have been consistently lower than the national average since records for Weston began in 2004, and MP John Penrose paid tribute to the town’s economic recovery.

He said: “We all hear the overall 
figures about unemployment falling 
everywhere else, but these statistics show the economic recovery is much stronger in Weston, than the average for the rest of the South West, or for the country as a whole.

“It’s a tribute to local firms, since they’re clearly doing well enough to hire lots of new people, and it’s great news for the town’s economy too.

“I run a weekly jobs club in central Weston and we’re certainly seeing people finding work successfully.

“In September I’ve arranged a jobs fair to bring jobseekers and potential employers together, so with any luck we can give these figures another boost then too.”

The jobs fair will be held in the Winter Gardens on September 15, with more information to follow.

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