Town bucks jobs market trend

A Jobcentre Plus
A Jobcentre Plus

St Helens is bucking the labour market trends as the number of people claiming out-of-work benefits continues to fall.

The number of jobseekers being supported in the town in August was 3,055, the latest figures show.

In addition the number of claimants aged 18 to 24 was 705.

Both are reductions on the previous month, with the number of young jobseekers going down by around 20 and the overall figure falling by around 30.

That has particularly pleased the Jobcentre Plus as this time of year is especially challenging with school leavers and university graduates joining the hunt for work.

Jobcentre Plus spokesman Alan Harrison said: "St Helens is bucking the trend a bit. Even though we will have claims coming into the system we still have people going off the register and into work, which is really good news.

"Another good thing is we've got more vacancies than we've had for a long time. Normally there's a bit of a lull before the Christmas recruitment starts but we've been busy right the way through. The majority of vacancies are full time, which is another good indicator.

"That's great for everyone because it shows the opportunities are there.

"They might not all be the job you want to do for the rest of your life but they are an opportunity to show what you can do."

Mr Harrison said the retail sector is currently looking to recruit particularly high numbers of workers and the Jobcentre Plus is in the process of advertising seasonal work for December in areas such as hospitality.

St Helens' positive figures mirror good news elsewhere in the region, with the August jobs figures for Merseyside showing a slight decrease in the overall claimant total. The North West is also enjoying record-breaking employment rates with 74.5 per cent of the population in work.

The region's unemployment rate of four per cent is also better than the national average of 4.3 per cent.

However, Merseyside has also seen a slight increase in the number of 18-to-24-year-olds needing out-of-work benefits compared to the previous month, which tallies with graduates and school leavers looking for jobs.