Small drop in city’s job­seek­ers count

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Uk&world Update - By DAVID SEY­MOUR david.sey­mour@pe­ter­bor­oughto­ @Et­david­sey­mour

THE num­ber of job­less peo­ple in Peter­bor­ough has fallen for the first time in four months - by just eight - af­ter hit­ting a 17-year high ear­lier in the year.

The num­ber of peo­ple aged 16 to 64 claim­ing Job­seeker’s Al­lowance in the lo­cal au­thor­ity area fell to 6,344 dur­ing April, ac­cord­ing to fig­ures pub­lished yes­ter­day by the Of­fice for Na­tional Sta­tis­tics.

Last month’s de­cline fol­lowed a surge in claimants at the start of 2012, with the fig­ure ris­ing by 608 dur­ing Jan­uary and 474 dur­ing Fe­bru­ary, bust­ing the 6,000 thresh­old and set­ting a 17-year high for the area.

It was fol­lowed by a fur­ther rise of 40 dur­ing March.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive of Peter­bor­ough Cham­ber of Com­merce John Bridge said the fig­ures sug­gested the im­pact of the end of Christ­mas em­ploy­ment, thought to be be­hind the 1,000-plus new claimants in the lo­cal au­thor­ity at the start of this year, was wan­ing.

He said: “I think we very much hoped the fig­ure would drop slightly this month and clearly we know and un­der­stand the trends that we have in em­ploy­ment, par­tic­u­larly with the sea­sonal work which im­pacted and af­fected the fig­ure in the early months of this year, and that is clearly now sta­bil­is­ing.”

He added: “We were very much hop­ing this month the corner would be turned.”

The de­cline, as might be ex­pected, had no im­pact on Peter­bor­ough’s un­em­ploy­ment rate, which for a third month in a row stands at 5.6 per cent.

This means, how­ever, the lo­cal au­thor­ity is now fur­ther adrift from the re­gional and na­tional av­er­ages which fell by 0.1 per cent to 3.2 per cent and 4.0 per cent re­spec­tively.

Ur­ban re­gen­er­a­tion com­pany Op­por­tu­nity Peter­bor­ough spoke of its con­fi­dence for the city’s fu­ture.

A spokesman said: “How­ever small, a de­cline in the num­ber of claimants is bet­ter news; it shows we’re mov­ing in the right di­rec­tion.

“Peter­bor­ough’s un­em­ploy­ment record his­tor­i­cally fol­lows the na­tional trend which has im­proved re­cently. We’re ex­pect­ing to see a more sig­nif­i­cant drop in Peter­bor­ough’s claimant count soon.

“We’re con­sis­tently hear­ing from busi­nesses which have strong plans to ex­pand over com­ing months, how­ever the macro eco­nomic con­di­tion is im­pact­ing upon busi­ness de­ci­sions. De­spite this small de­crease, we’re still per­form­ing bet­ter than com­peti­tor cities.”

Last month’s fall ap­pears to be driven by a change in the area’s youth un­em­ploy­ment lev­els.

The num­ber of claimants aged be­tween 18 and 24 dropped by 30 from 1,795 to 1,765, while there was a rise in the num­ber of 25-49-year-olds claim­ing Job Seeker’s Al­lowance (3,640 to 3,680) and a smaller de­cline for those aged 49-plus (885 to 875).

Peter­bor­ough Re­gional Col­lege, in Park Cres­cent, has been of­fer­ing short em­ploy­a­bil­ity cour­ses for re­fer­rals from Job Cen­tre Plus (JCP) to help claimants se­cure work, as well as sec­tor-spe­cific cour­ses for con­struc­tion, hos­pi­tal­ity, re­tail and IT in­dus­tries.

A spokes­woman said: “We also work with JCP to pro­vide pre-em­ploy­ment train­ing for em­ploy­ers us­ing a sec­tor based work academy model.

“So far, we have fo­cused on sup­port­ing spe­cific em­ploy­ers, in­clud­ing Coco Cola, Harvester, The Rose and Crown Ho­tel, Qualitetch and Homecare So­lu­tions, through these pro­grammes where they are open­ing a new store or ex­pe­ri­enc­ing con­tin­ued growth. We have am­bi­tious plans to sup­port large scale re­cruit­ment ac­tiv­ity in the lo­gis­tics sec­tor later in the year.”

HOPES: Peter­bor­ough Cham­ber of Com­merce chief ex­ec­u­tive John Bridge

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