More than a quarter of Sheffield job seekers have found work in the past year, new figures show.
The latest monthly figures for December 2014 show there are now 10,266 people claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance in the city - down by 3,669 on the year before, a 26 per cent reduction.
It is a 2.4 per cent drop on the 10,524 JSA claimants in Sheffield recorded in November.
Nigel Coleman, an employer account manager at the city’s Cavendish Court job centre, said economic confidence was growing.
He said despite some of the jobs included in the December figures being temporary Christmas positions, he expects further falls in unemployment to continue.
“It is very encouraging. We are really seeing a positive vibe, month on month,” he said
Similar improvements have been recorded across South Yorkshire, with unemployment in Rotherham dropping by 28 per cent in the last year. The town now has just over 5,000 JSA claimants - almost 2,000 fewer than at the end of 2013.
In Doncaster, there has been a 27 per cent fall in claimants, with 5,849 now registered and in Barnsley the reduction has been 34 per cent, with 3,755 people now claiming JSA.
The figures have been welcomed by Sheffield Hallam MP and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg.
He said: “The job figures are further proof that the economy is growing stronger. It is encouraging to see the recovery is helping hardworking families up and down the country, especially here in Sheffield.
“The figures show that Sheffield is now benefitting from the stronger economy that the Liberal Democrats are building.
“These are not just numbers. Each new job means security and stability for a Sheffield family and I am delighted that we are now at the lowest level of unemployment since 2008.”
Employment minister Esther McVey said: “Local businesses up and down the country are feeling more confident, taking on new staff, and giving people the security of a regular wage. Yorkshire and Humberside has an employment rate higher than London – and employment is at a near record high, with 2.5 million people in work.”
Nationally, unemployment has fallen to 5.8 per cent, compared to 7.1 per cent a year ago.
The number of people claiming JSA fell in December by 29,600 to 867,000. Average earnings increased by 1.7 per cent in the year to November, up by 0.3 per cent on the previous month. Paul Kenny, GMB union general secretary, said: “Most workers have seen little or no evidence of any recovery.”