Jobs bosses hail employment figures and praise strength of St Helens labour market

A Jobcentre Plus
A Jobcentre Plus

Jobs bosses have hailed the latest employment figures showing a sharp reduction in St Helens residents claiming out-of-work benefits over a five-year period.

The latest labour market statistics, which have been adjusted to account for the impact of Universal Credit on the jobseekers' figures, show there were 4,286 residents needing assistance in August, a drop of 22 per cent of 1,179 from the figure recorded this time five years ago.

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Jobs chiefs also said the number of opportunities in St Helens for people to get into the workplace is rising.

Gemma Batchelor, a DWP representative for Merseyside, said: "It is a really positive picture in St Helens. As well as the drop in claimants there has been a steady increase in job offers."

The Jobcentre Plus has been working on recruitment for Royal Mail, for self-employed driving roles and also for new taxi drivers, with free training available for anyone wanting to take up piloting a cab for a living.

Vacancies also exist for production assistants in the food sector and for warehousing and logistics posts, while retail jobs are also increasing in number.

The Jobcentre Plus has also been working with employees of Thomas Cook in the wake of the travel giant's sudden collapse.

New employers are also coming into St Helens, with the arrival of Ormazabal, a company with specialises in electrical distribution, at Mere Grange.

Jobcentre Plus staff are also working with a new menswear store in St Helens and an inflatable theme park.

The DWP in Merseyside is also waiting to find out if it will receive a slice of £7m funding to tackle youth unemployment, with half destined for more Jobcentre advisors in schools and the other half supporting young people with special educational needs.

Regionally employment is at 74.5 per cent, a near record rate.