Jobless total is lowest level for six years

JobCentre Plus
JobCentre Plus

More people have found their way back into work on the Fylde coast as the latest figures show unemployment has fallen once again.

The report from the Office of National Statistics reveals that unemployment nationally has fallen to its lowest level for more than six years

The jobless total fell by 58,000 between September and November to 1.91 million, the lowest since autumn 2008, while a record 30 million people are in work.

The number of people claiming jobseeker’s allowance fell in December by 29,600 to 867,000, the 26th consecutive monthly cut.

Locally, figures showed that Blackpool showed a slight rise in the number of Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) claims and appears to be lagging behind in job creation, but the overall figures were down on the same period last year.

Figures for the Blackpool North and Cleveleys parliamentary constituency show 1,534, or 3.1 per cent of the population, were claiming JSA, down 1.3 per cent on the same period in the previous year.

In Blackpool South, 2,211 were claiming, 4.4 per cent of the population, down 1.6 per cent on the previous year.

Fylde had 627 claimants, down 0.8 per cent, Lancaster and Fleetwood had 878, down 0.8 per cent, while Wyre had 364 claimants, down 0.8 per cent.

Julia Loddington from Blackpool JobCentre Plus said the overall figures were encouraging there was a need to be proactive in helping JSA claimants to find work and improve their skills.

She said: “The national figures show that unemployment is down by six percent and certainly in Blackpool we have seen a drop again in our claimant count.

“In the 18-24 youth sector it is now standing at 665, a 42 per cent drop from this time last year. For all claimants including youth, we have seen a drop of 1,344 or 27 per cent.

“We are still doing a lot of work with the Prince’s Trust to help people into work . They will be running a couple of courses for 2015.

“The Young Enterprise Solutions project from One Blackpool has been launched and we will be getting involved in that and there is a Blackpool Career Options Event next week where we will have a presence. We are involved in a couple of courses with Blackpool and The Fylde College for the newly unemployed. We want them to get back into work as soon as possible so their skills do not go out of date.

“And we have specific provision for the long term unemployed, those aged over 50, again with the college to identify the barriers they have to getting into work.”

Blackpool South’s Labour MP Gordon Marsden said Blackpool was lagging too far behind the rest of the country.

He said: “In October we were the 65th worst constituency in terms of unemployment, now we are 33rd. We need to have a much greater stimulus in the local economy which is suffering from the effects of cuts in local government and funding.”

Coun Tony Williams for the Conservatives said: “Overall the picture in encouraging and we are emerging from the doldrums but the light at the end of the tunnel has not reached far enough north.

“It’s extremely disappointing that we have not done enough in Blackpool to attract real inward investment in terms of employment.

“We need a fresh approach. – I would put together an economic team whose sole job would be to go out and seek new manufacturing and other employers by offering excellent packages and incentives.”