Unemployment continues to fall in St Helens

St Helens town centre
St Helens town centre

The number of St Helens residents claiming out-of-work benefits is continuing to fall, according to new figures.

There were 3,330 claimants in the town in May 2016, a decrease of 25 from the previous month, according to the official labour market statistics released by Nomis.

In addition the number of people out of work has fallen by four per cent since this time last year and there has been a five per cent fall in benefit claimants aged between 18 and 24 since May 2015.

Reacting to the latest data, the Jobcentre Plus said St Helens was benefitting from a settled economy, with few major hurdles foreseeable in the coming months.

The organisation also hopes there will be a knock-on effect in the borough from business developments happening elsewhere on Merseyside.

Jobcentre Plus press officer for Merseyside Alan Harrison said: “The St Helens figures reflect the county region average, which is good. Liverpool is also currently staging its international business festival with something like 10,000 firms there, so hopefully that will have a knock-on effect like the one two years ago did.

“We’ve got record numbers of vacancies and the majority are full time. Manufacturing vacancies are up, we’ve still got large numbers of hospitality roles, and building vacancies are up which is always a good sign.

“This period is usually quite reflective of the labour market so I wouldn’t expect these figures to change much over the next few months.”

The labour market stats show that in May 2016 2,010 men and 1,320 women claimed out-of-work benefits, with 865 claimants aged 18 to 24, 1,825 between the ages of 25 and 49 and 640 aged 50 or over.

Nationally the Office for National Statistics (ONS) data showed the unemployment rate has fallen to five per cent, the lowest in more than a decade.

The employment rate is at a record high of 74.2 per cent and wages before bonuses are also thought to have grown by around 2.3 per cent since the same time 12 months ago, suggesting the growth is being driven by full-time work.