Managers at local job centres in South Yorkshire are predicting that unemployment will continue to fall in the region as more and more companies are expanding and recruiting staff. The last year has seen a fall in unemployment in all the major cities and towns in the region.
In the county’s largest city, Sheffield, the number of job seekers is down by 13 per cent on the previous year with 1410 fewer claimants. The total number of the Sheffield population claiming job seekers allowance is now 9115.
In the county’s second major town, Doncaster, a similar trend has been observed. Claimant numbers here are down 15 per cent with nearly 900 fewer than in the preceding 12 months. Even more promising is the fact that youth unemployment has fallen by half over a period of five years and currently stands at 1470 job seekers aged 18-25.
Rotherham and Barnsley are also following suit with a drop in unemployment of 18 per cent and 8 per cent respectively. In all cases this fall follows on from a reduction in the previous year. According to Nigel Coleman, an account manager at a Sheffield Job Centre, the fall in unemployment has been consistent over the 24 month period and is showing no signs of waning.
Coleman indicates that new vacancies exist “in all sectors” and that demand appears to be consistent.
Whilst temporary Christmas jobs will have had a positive impact on these figures, it is thought that many retailers will be keeping new staff on in the New Year. This will be in line with last year when fewer people returned to unemployment after the Christmas period than in previous years.
Another major boost for recruitment in the area is the plan for a Sheffield Ikea, which will have a positive effect on employment rates.
These figures reflect a national trend, with the current employment level in the UK standing at a record 73.9 per cent. Opinion as to the reality behind these figures is, however, divided.
Employment Minister Priti Patel is positive, commenting:
“We are ending the year on a high, with a record rate of employment, and wages continuing to grow.”
The Unite union, however, is rather more sceptical, warning that the fall in unemployment figures is affected by an increase in self-employment and in low paid-part time jobs such as the now infamous zero hours contracts.
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