Eastleigh unemployment hits record low

market street

More retail units in use in thriving town centre

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.”


  10 comments for “Eastleigh unemployment hits record low

  1. mm
    Eastleigh Xpress
    August 13, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    I know there are all sorts of factors that suggest that figures might not be as rosy as they seem but the trend is the thing and you can’t deny walking around the town centre that things seem a lot busier.

    Keith House mentions the new Next store in Hedge End but of course the nearby Kiddicare megastore is closing with the loss of 80 jobs – but overall things seem headed in the right direction and the latest data suggests those Kiddicare employees should soon find a job.(Hopefully).

    There are other indicators which point to a strong recovery and if you have tried to get hold of a tradesman recently you’ll know what I mean.

    Not sure I agree with the popular narrative about EU migrants putting tradespeople out of work and driving down wages -if you are looking for a builder or a roofer or a kitchen fitter then you are lucky just to get someone to come around and quote you.

    The other indicator is house prices.

    Official data is lagging a bit but I think we are seeing record asking prices here in town.

    A house in our terrace has just gone on market with an asking price of a quarter of a million pounds and a two bedder in our street recently sold with a £230k asking price.

    Tellingly, that property sold to a professional guy who works in London and says it is cheaper to commute to London by train.

    These are houses that were originally built for working class folk and until recently were starter homes – which brings us to a point about our economic recovery and that is that the benefits are not being felt by all sections of our society.

    Not all boats will rise with the incoming tide if, while the tide was out, they have been firmly anchored to the bottom on a short length of chain – they are just going to sink.

    Rising property prices have priced out the low paid who have seen their incomes static or falling throughout the recession.

    I am thinking of Desmond Spiers the carvery chef for whom the only accommodation available in Eastleigh is a tent.

    He is competing in a housing market against professionals from London.

    Even ‘affordable’ rents are unsustainable without housing benefits.

    We need to see the benefits of our recovery shared a bit more and a good start IMO would be more social housing.

  2. Rosie
    August 13, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    Sadly the true employed figures are much higher than the figures for people now entitled to claim JSA. The approx £30,000 average earnings for the Borough is also unexpectedly high, especially with so many people on zero hours contracts (with employers such as Next taking advantage of local people in this way!) – or on minimum wage, or little more (eg at the many call centres etc in this area). No doubt the huge numbers of London etc commuting residents’ salaries inflate the average for the Borough. But much of their spending will be also be outside the Borough.

  3. Rosie
    August 13, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    First sentence above should read unemployed, not employed!

  4. Rosie
    August 13, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    The trasdesmen are probably holidaying abroad with the cash-in-hand that they regularly stash away undisclosed from the taxman! (And rubbing their hands at the thought of all the thousands of houses they’re going to be building on our countryside soon which will attract in more commuters to London etc but which won’t solve the problem of local people needing truly affordable housing or single people like the one living in a tent in the woods). And all that whilst we probably all know of several at least women with children who get brand new “social” (but in fact high quality) houses given to them and then take cash from their husbands to fund their nights out, holidays, abroad etc, without any guilty feelings for those without children who get very little, or no, financial help from the government or local authorities! No local authority or government should be patting itself on the back while it lets such things happen.

      August 15, 2014 at 12:02 pm

      The reason we have to stash money away is because when there is no work around we do not qualify for any benefits, WHY, because we are English and white

      • mm
        Eastleigh Xpress
        August 15, 2014 at 3:10 pm

        Out of interest which party did you convert to Ukip from?

        • UKIP CONVERT
          August 16, 2014 at 11:03 am

          That’s not as easy to answer but I will try. I started of as a staunch labour supporter, came from a working class background, did an apprenticeship and was going to change the world. Soon realised this was not going to happen and as a protest voted tory. Then the lib dem lot came along, great thing were going to happen and poor old Eastleigh got Milligan, stockings suspenders and all. Then we fall for it again with Huhne, so they are out of the window. Cant vote labour anymore because of Blair and Iraq, there must be some very powerfull guardian angels looking after that man. Now we are governed by multi millionaires who don’t have a clue about the average working man, eg everyone in the cabinet to do with education was privately educated, sounds about right. We cant look after our pensioners, disabled, vulnerable, everything we have worked for has to be sold to pay for nursing care if we live to long but somehow we can afford to send billions in aid to other countries. Benefits for those who need them are at a minimum but be an immigrant and theres £250.00 a week to spend, oh and by the way bing the rest of the family with you, of course we will pay the £1500 a month rent for your mansion. I see no future for my grandchildren whilst we put us last and everyone else first, they at least give a glimmer of hope, and that’s why im a UKIP convert

  5. August 13, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    The statistics do present a misleading picture. Anybody who takes heart from these figures is complacent, although.as you say, the trend is interesting.

    I suspect the truth is that there are less people coming on to the claimant count at the moment, and lots of people dropping off or being moved to other benefits after they’ve had their six months worth of JSA…

  6. C Gardener
    August 13, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    Zero contract hours, interns paid nothing at all (but have a job) and part time employees who can’t get full time work are used to skew statistics. All these people are technically ’employed’ whether or not they receive a wage. Politicians regularly manipulate figures to make them say what they think the public want to hear.

  7. C Gardener
    August 14, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    …and I should have added those that have had no choice but to start their own businesses as they have been unable to find work. Some of these businesses are successful but many are not. All these are taken out of the statistical equasion when used by politicians to suggest the unemployment rate is down. Be aware.

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