Town is working as claimant count falls

The entrance to a Jobcentre Plus
The entrance to a Jobcentre Plus

The number of people in St Helens claiming out-of-work benefits has once again plummeted compared to this time last year, new figures show.

The overall claimant count last month fell by 405, or 12 per cent, from that of October 2015, while the same 12-month period showed a 15 per cent drop in the number of 18-to-24-year-olds on benefits.

We are seeing a trend of decreasing unemployment across Merseyside and are very happy St Helens is part of that

Jobcentre Plus spokesman Clive Morris

This means St Helens is performing better than the Merseyside average, with the region seeing an eight per cent drop in young claimants and a 12.4 per cent fall overall.

The figures, revealed in the latest labour market statistics, have been hailed by the Jobcentre Plus, which says there is an overall downward trend as job opportunities increase.

The organisation also said there are new employment avenues opening up in St Helens as firms begin recruiting for Christmas.

Jobcentre Plus spokesman for Merseyside Clive Morris said: “The figures are good news for St Helens. We are seeing a trend of decreasing unemployment across Merseyside and are very happy to say St Helens is part of that.

“We work with a wide range of employers in the town and surrounding areas and only this week we have been talking to large employers in warehousing and distribution.

“Call centre recruitment is also accounting for a significant number of jobs and these are really good opportunities for people. There’s also seasonal recruitment ongoing and the Jobcentre Plus staff are working with employers in retail and hospitality.”

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) says employment is running at a record rate of 74.5 per cent with 31.8 million people in work, an increase of almost 2.8 million since 2010.

The Government also said record numbers of women are in work, youth unemployment has fallen by almost 350,000 in six years and more than half a million disabled people have entered the workforce in the past three years.