Unemployment, as measured by the unemployed claimant count has fallen to a record low in Eastleigh
There are now just 672 jobseekers in the borough or 0.8% of the working age population – this is a third of the national average of 2.4%.
At the peak of the recession In January 2010 there were 2,094 registered jobseekers in Eastleigh (2.6%)
The figures are line with the national trend. The latest Office for National Statistics show the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance fell for the 21st month in a row in June, by 33,600 to 1.01 million and next month could fall below one million for the first time since September 2008.
The majority of jobseekers are concentrated in the densely populated town centre wards with 111 jobseekers registered in Central ward or 1.5% of the working population.
By comparison in the more affluent borough ward of Hiltingbury East (part of the Winchester constituency) just 0.4% of the working age population are currently claiming the dole that’s 11 people and there are no claimants aged 18 -24.
Data from the ONS also shows that on average workers in Eastleigh earn more than the national and regional average with the average weekly gross pay for a full time employee in the borough standing at £570.10.
Another useful indicator of improved economic activity is the number of empty shops and in Eastleigh the number of empty retail units has come down by 16% overall since January 2010 with many long term voids in the town centre finding new tenants.
Its not just the retail service sector that has revived – over at the Railway Works now operated by Arlington Rail the work force has more than doubled since 2010.
Eastleigh was originally a 19th Century railway boomtown and a thriving railworks is a good barometer of the local economy.
Council Leader Keith House hailed the good news saying:
“This is more good news for our Borough as the economy continues to pick up. More jobs and more businesses makes for a more prosperous Borough as we have seen with Next opening at Hedge End this week and M&S moving into Eastleigh.
But retail is changing too which means with smaller older units we need a new focus on leisure uses and specialist retail to complement our busier stores.”