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Canterbury district jobless total falls over past year

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Good news on the jobs front

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UNEMPLOYMENT in the Canterbury district is falling, according to figures released today by the Office for National Statistics today.

They showed that 1,139 people were claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) in the district, a decrease of 0.7 per cent on last year.

There was, however, a slight rise on last month, although Debbie McIntosh, work services manager at Herne Bay Jobcentre, said there was no cause for alarm.

“It’s only been a single-figure increase here at Herne Bay,” she said. “We usually register an increase in January and this is not substantial.”

The town had 507 people claiming JSA on the date the figures were taken, January 8. This was in comparison with a figure of 683 a year ago.

One of the most encouraging signs in the town, said Ms McIntosh, was the decline in unemployment among young people (aged 18-24), with this year’s figure of 115 comparing favourably with the 2014 total of 240.

“Of those, only 10 had been claiming for more than six months,” said Ms McIntosh. “This is a good figure for us and shows that young people are not falling into a pattern of long-term unemployment.”

Across the county, there was a drop in unemployment of 8,661, with 2,645 fewer young people claiming benefit. This represented a fall of 37.5 per cent, said Ms McIntosh.

She put the falling figures down largely to the approach taken by Jobcentre staff.

“A stronger economy helps, but I think there’s more to it from our process point of view,” she said.

“We’re seeing people come in to the Jobcentre more regularly now – some are coming in daily and we’re there to give them greater support.

“For example, we can help with the digital agenda. Many jobs are advertised online and if jobseekers don’t have the skills they won’t find them.

“So we make sure claimants have email and a CV and they need to register on Universal Jobmatch [a government website hosting job vacancies].

“We’re there to help them, but the key thing is that jobseekers must think about what they need to do for themselves.”

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