Jobseekers’ claims drop in Dereham and Fakenham

BUDGET JobCentres 124359

- Credit: PA

The number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance in the Dereham and Fakenham area has almost halved.

Claimant figures fell by 44.5pc year on year last month compared to the same time last year.

The plummeting figures were also reflected across Norfolk, north Suffolk and east Cambridgeshire, where the claimant count dropped from 18,890 to 11,152 over the same period.

It came as the national unemployment fell to its lowest level for more than six years, while pay rises continued to outstrip inflation, according to the Office For National Statistics.

The jobless total fell by 58,000 between September and November to 1.91 million, the lowest since autumn 2008, while a record 30 million people are in work.

However, unemployment in East Anglia increased by 1,000 in the three months to November, with 153,000 people out of work. The region's unemployment rate was 4.9pc.

Julia Nix, East Anglia district manager for Job Centre Plus, said the figures for Dereham and Fakenham were 'brilliant'.

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She said: 'It's really good news for that area. We've had a 2pc drop in the number claiming Jobseeker's allowance from November to December when normally we would expect an upturn at that time of year as it's often when people are made redundant.

'The year-on-year figures are brilliant, it's almost halved. It's very positive news and Bernard Matthews just announced 90 new jobs at the company which is the first time they have done that in a little while.

'It's all feel much more much confident and much better.'

Responding to concerns that the fall in unemployment could be fuelled by more part-time work opportunities, rather than a rise in 'quality' full-time careers, Mrs Nix said part-time work was right for some employees who wanted to work flexibly.

She believes that the jobs market is now moving closer to where it was at the turn of the millennium when the economy was stronger.

Dereham town mayor Tim Birt welcomed the latest figures, but said they were slightly 'tempered' as there were still a lot of people in long-term unemployment, who are not actively looking for work and therefore not on jobseeker's allowance.

He said: 'It's fantastic news but we need to look at the figures right across the board. Long-term unemployment in Dereham is going up and we need to make sure we are tackling that issue.

Fakenham's mayor Jeremy Punchard said: 'It's a good thing that people are in employment. More people are going self employed or setting up their own start-up businesses.

'There's investment in the area with firms like Kinnerton which has contributed. It can only be a good thing if people are in work.'

As previously reported, Work Finder Club in Dereham offers people looking for employment a place where they can go to access computers, look for job vacancies and get help with their CVs and application forms.

Backed by the Dereham Community Support Centre, it is a weekly drop-in centre based at the baptist church in Dereham's High Street which is run by the unemployed for the unemployed. It runs every Tuesday from 9am to 11.30am.

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