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‘Buoyant jobs market has helped reduction in unemployment figures in our region’

Diss, Norfolk. The Job Centre Plus in Diss ENGANL00120121030113057
Diss, Norfolk. The Job Centre Plus in Diss ENGANL00120121030113057

The district manager for East Anglia’s Jobcentres believes the “buoyant” jobs market has played a role in the reduction of unemployment figures in our region.

In Diss, 600 people are claiming Job Seekers Allowance (JSA), exactly the same figure as June, but the year on year figures show a 30.2 per cent reduction. For young people, deemed from the ages 18-24, there was a 3.8 per cent drop in claimants compared to last month, and a 38.6 per cent fall compared to last year.

In Norfolk, 2.2 per cent less people were claiming JSA compared to June, while the decrease was 33.5 per cent for the year on year figures. 38.7 per cent more young people were in work this year compared to last. Across the border, there was an even bigger fall in unemployment for young people, 44 per cent compared to last year. Overall, 29.9 per cent more people are in work based on the yearly figures in Suffolk.

Julia Nix, district manager for East Anglia’s Jobcentres, told the Diss Express: “Sometimes at this time of year we can sometimes expect and increase in unemployment in young people as they are leaving school, and are in that period of pondering whether to carry on with further education or go into work.

“More young people are working, be it short term during the holidays, or doing something which is not putting them on our books which is encouraging.

“Everybody is in a much better place, businesses are recruiting, there is definitely business growth out there, and there is confidence to take people on.

“We have been really concentrating on young people, working with employers to offer work experience opportunities. For six to eight weeks, a person who has no experience whatsoever gets confidence, get experience, and finds out what work is all about.

“They often stay with the employer which offers them work experience, and there is a 70 per cent success rate for young people going into work, either with that employer or a new employer.”

In February, the Diss Express featured the story of an anonymous jobseeker in his 50s who has been out of work for more than a year, claiming the Job Centre ‘needed to do more’. In December 2014, it was reported 1.2 million people in this bracket were out of work.

But Mrs Nix said despite a focus on young people, there is still provision to help older claimants to get back into work.

“There is still all the support there we would give them,” she explained. “They can have work experience as well, it is not just for young people. We offer job clubs, CV writing, and interview skills, and all of these things are on offer to older people as well as younger people.”

The Office for National Statistics said unemployment rose nationally by 25,000, to 1.85 million between April and June. However, 221,000 more people are in work compared to this time last year.

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