Unemployment falls by a fifth

Paul Blomfield
Paul Blomfield
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The number of people claiming unemployment benefit in Sheffield has dropped by more than a fifth in a year, according to the latest figures.

Numbers claiming Jobseekers Allowance in Sheffield have plunged from 17,732 in March 2013 to 13,946 in March this year – a drop of 21.4 per cent.

Figures, from the Office for National Statistics, also show the percentage of the working age population claiming the benefit is down from 4.8 per cent to 3.8 per cent – but still higher than the 2.8 per cent national average.

Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield said: “Any fall in local unemployment is welcome, but overall it’s a very mixed picture.

“I’m concerned that the number of women out of work is up nine per cent and we still have a major problem with long-term young unemployment, with over 900,000 young people out of work.

“I’m also concerned too many new jobs are insecure, on zero hours contracts and on the minimum wage. The economy will really be on the mend when we see people moving into secure, full-time and decently paid jobs.”

Unemployment across the Yorkshire and Humber area is 8.5 per cent – still the second highest in the country. The rate rose by 0.1 per cent for December-March 2013-14 against the previous quarter, but was down year-on-year by 0.7 per cent from 9.2 per cent.

Sheffield Chamber of Commerce executive director Richard Wright said: “The recent Independent Economic Review by the Local Enterprise Partnership indicated we fare badly when compared with other regions, despite millions of pounds of investment over 20 years from Objective 1 and European Regional Development Fund.

“Whatever we have been doing was not as good as other regions, despite having more money to spend.

“Therefore, we need to do it differently and the people who have been in charge through that period and are in charge now need to recognise that.”