Unemployment in Eastleigh as measured by the number of people claiming jobseekers allowance is now at its lowest since May 2008 just before the recession struck.
The latest data from the Office for National Statistics have shows there were 901 jobseekers in the borough last month – or 1.1% of the working age population.
The number of JSA claimants in Eastleigh peaked in August 2009 when there were 2021 claimants (2.5%).
The record unemployment low was in November 2007 when there was just 723 JSA claimants or 0.9%. The latest drop in unemployment is in line with national figures that show a decline to a five-year of low 1.14 million jobseekers or 2.9% of the UK working age population.
Overall it is estimated there are 2.24 million people unemployed in the country or 6.9%. There is no general unemployment figures issued for Eastleigh but the closest comparable data is for the number of people in the borough who are receiving key DWP out of work benefits – including JSA and ESA disability payments.
The latest figures reveal there are 6,360 people in Eastleigh’s working age population, or 7.9%, out of work.
The hardest hit area is Eastleigh South where there are 905 people or 15.25% of the working age population on jobless benefits – this is higher than the national average of 13.6%.
This is in contrast to more prosperous areas of the borough like Hiltingbury West where there are just 110 people on out of work benefits or Hedge End Grange Park the JSA claimant count is 0.6%.
National data shows a fall in the number of part-time workers but the number of people declaring themselves as ‘self employed’ has been outstripping job growth.
Many commentators point to a rise in ‘bogus’ self employment caused partly by companies employing people as self employed contractors thereby avoiding the need to pay national insurance and employee benefits – a practice the chancellor has pledged to crack down as employees fall outside of PAYE.
Another cause in self-employment growth is a result of unemployed persons moving from claiming JSA to more generous working tax credits payments simply by changing their the title of there employment status.