Unemployment has fallen in Sheffield – but business bosses warn the road to recovery will still be a ‘very slow process’.
New Government figures reveal almost 1,200 more people have found work over the last year – a 6.7 per cent fall in Sheffield’s job seekers’ allowance claimants.
But Sheffield business leaders warned the recovery was likely to be slow-going and councillors said many families are still finding it hard to make ends meet.
Figures for the number of jobseekers’ allowance claimants showed a 1,183 fall between July 2012 and July 2013, from 17,627 to 16,444 – equivalent to 6.7 per cent.
But although the average proportion of working age adults claiming JSA is now 4.5 per cent, it is still one per cent above the 3.5 per cent national average.
Richard Wright, executive director of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, said: “A lot of the new jobs are part-time and, although there are some expanding sectors in industry in Sheffield, these are not in areas where there are a lot of jobs.Recovery is going to be a very slow process in Sheffield.”
Unemployment remains stubbornly high in some areas of north east Sheffield and some of the city’s most affluent parts recorded a rise in JSA claimants over the last year.
In Shiregreen and Brightside, the JSA figure fell by just two between July 2012 and July 2013.
The highest number of people finding work was in Burngreave, where job seekers fell by 75 over the period, although 11.2 per cent of working-age adults in the area – some 1,844 people – are still claiming JSA.
JSA claimant numbers rose slightly in Woodhouse, Graves Park, Nether Edge, Crookes, Dore and Totley, Ecclesall, Fulwood, Richmond and Hillsborough.
Sheffield Council deputy leader, Coun Harry Harpham, said: “The chatter nationally seems to be that the economy is recovering - but going out on the streets you find a different story.
“Many people do not feel their prospects are getting better, are still afraid of losing their jobs, and are worried whether they’ll be able to afford household bills.”
The latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey found Sheffield is ‘more buoyant at the lower-skilled end of the market’.
Amanda White, operations director at Manpower, said: “We’re seeing more production line roles in manufacturing, such as machine operators. The Christmas rush for temporary staff is also beginning to kick in. And we’re seeing the knock-on for jobs in logistics, as firms gear up to meet the Christmas e-commerce rush.”
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