Staff at Eastleigh Job centre have told Eastleigh News that they are ‘ecstatic’ that the latest official figures show the number of jobseekers in Eastleigh have fallen to the lowest level since records began
Juliet Sotheran who is a works service manager at the Southampton Rd Job Centre Plus said the number of 18 – 24 year olds claiming jobseekers allowance was now 49% lower than this last year and the number of jobseekers overall has fallen by 35% over the same period.
“It just goes to show we have an awful lot available for Eastleigh claimants and a lot of vacancies in all sectors”.
Nationally the unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level since 2008 – before the recession struck – and there are now a record 20.9 million people in work.
In 1993 there were over 4,000 people in in Eastleigh claiming unemployment benefit – almost 6% of the working population – today the figure is 643 or just two percent.
Last month the employment minister Esther McVey told Eastleigh News that 75% of jobs growth nationally was “managerial, high skilled and professional” and that claims that new jobs were low paid or zero hour contracts were just ‘scare stories’.
Sothernan said a lot of availability in the care sector, hospitality and catering – not areas usually associated with higher pay but Kath Rix who is a DWP manager Winchester told Eastleigh News said that high demand for staff in these sectors meant that many employers were now paying above the minimum wage in order to attract staff.
According to the latest ONS data 55% of Eastleigh’s workforce are managers, directors or professional people which is higher than the regional average.
The news coincides with the publication of the latest Inflation figures showing the CPI has fallen to an historic low of 0.3% while at the same time pay is increasing.
The latest figures will be good news to the coalition parties as they go forward to the general election with both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats claiming this is evidence that ‘their’ economic policies are working.
In a government press release the Work and Pensions secretary Ian Duncan –Smith hailed the “Jobs-led recovery” saying:
“With unemployment continuing to fall, wages rising, and a record number of people in work, it’s clear that the Government’s long-term economic plan to get the country back on track is working.
Ian Duncan smith also announced a national roll-out of the Universal Credit.
The minister said the scheme heralds a “cultural change” designed to give people more financial security by making work pay.
Juliet Sotheran said:
“We are really excited because we toll out with universal credit in Eastleigh in May and in areas where this has already gone live employers really like it , customers like it its all about making work pay by gradually reducing the amount of benefit someone is claiming as their wages increase its more simple there isn’t a specific number f hours that you have to work its dependent on wages its going to be fantastic for Eastleigh when it launches in May.”
In a statement Stephen Timms, the Labour Shadow Employment Minister welcomed the fall but added that the Conservatives “failing plan” had left working people £1,600 a year worse off since 2010.
“Low pay has left millions of working families struggling to make ends meet and has led to billions more spent on the housing benefit bill”.
Mims Davies the Conservative candidate for Eastleigh hailed the news saying:
“It’s clear that the Conservatives’ long term economic plan is delivering a more financially secure future for families in our area”.