Unemployment figures are ‘lowest since 1970s’

PUBLISHED: 11:00 23 October 2015

The Jobcentre.

The Jobcentre.

Archant

A MARKED drop in the number of people in North Somerset claiming jobseekers’ allowance was reported by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) this week.

While there has been a 21 per cent decline in the number of people claiming the benefit, it was also revealed the South West had the highest employment rate of any region in the UK, with more than 78 per cent of people in work.

A total of 1,221 claimants, including 299 between the ages of 18 and 24, claimed jobseekers in North Somerset last year.

Mike Nicholls, from JobCentre Plus, said the rate of unemployment nationwide had reached its lowest since the 1970s, as the total percentage of people out of work fell to 2.3 per cent.

He said: “In the last two to three years there has been an accelerated rate of decline. The number of people out of work is back to pre-recession levels.

“There has been a steady decline in unemployment rates, an ongoing pattern. The South West is a great place to be in terms of work and that is reflected in the number of people in jobs.”

Mr Nicholls revealed JobCentre Plus is now working with local authorities and the DWP to ensure out-of-work people receive job-seeking support and guidance.

He added: “Each individual has their own needs. For example we get some claimants coming in (who are) not used to the way we look for jobs nowadays, as lots of employers advertise online.”

The aim is to offer digital training for those over 50 who struggle with online job applications.

Liz Redwood, executive director of apprenticeships and commercial strategy at Weston College’s business centre, said: “We know that there are a high proportion of older, but highly-skilled, people out there who are looking for work and we are committed to providing as much support as we can to help them find a job.

“The college works in partnership with the job centre to provide dedicated support to older job seekers.

“Many of our courses are specifically designed to help the older job seeker overcome barriers to employment, which includes IT skills.

“We’ve run a number of over-50 specific courses in Weston and Bristol with more than 45 per cent of attendees getting into work as a result of the training.

“These courses help people get to grips with IT, developing confidence and showing them how to search for jobs online.”

The news comes after it was revealed Weston-super-Mare had a high proportion of workless homes.

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