Unemployment at ‘all-time low’ in South West – as Weston-super-Mare benefits from good jobs market

PUBLISHED: 17:00 27 June 2017


Unemployment is at a record low in the South West, with jobs at projects like Hinkley Point C being hailed as an important boost for Weston-super-Mare and North Somerset’s job market.

Unemployment has dropped in North Somerset.Unemployment has dropped in North Somerset.

The employment rate has hit 79.1 per cent in the South West, compared to 74.8 per cent nationally.

In North Somerset there are just 1,265 people claiming jobseekers’ allowance, 290 of which are aged between 18-24.

The figures show a 62 per cent drop in the number of people registered as unemployed in the past five years, with a 68 per cent drop for 18-25 year olds.

Weston’s JobCentre manager Sally Forest said: “The job market is good at the moment, there is a lot of development in Avonmouth which is providing lots of jobs.

“We have also got Hinkley Point C on our doorstep and organisations like Alliance Care which we work closely with.

“We know there is a lack of carers in the area, so we are working to provide people with the right skills they need for those jobs.”

But the way people claim their benefits has now changed, as Universal Credit has launched.

The new system aims to encourage more people to take on part-time work. Previously people claiming jobseekers’ allowance would have to declare they are working at the end of two weeks, and so may be left struggling for cash. But now people who work on a zero-hours contact, or only work for a few hours a week, will have their Universal Credit claim top up the amount they earn if it is less than their credit claim.

Ms Forest told the Mercury: “Universal Credit will have a big impact, in that we will have different demographics of claimants. It will mean, from now on, it is difficult to compare job statistics now in a like-for-like way to five years ago.

“For us, as a job centre, we are just going to have a few weeks of reflection to see what people we have got coming in need, to make sure we support our customers in the best possible way.”

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