The jobs market in Huddersfield remains buoyant, it is claimed – despite more people receiving work-related benefits.
Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed the claimant count for the Huddersfield parliamentary constituency stood at 1,770 in November – down by 50 compared with the previous month but up by 75 on November last year.
Jo Ledgard, of Huddersfield Jobcentre Plus, said the latest figures now included people on Universal Credit who were previously excluded from the claimant count. It follows completion of the roll-out of Universal Credit across the district on November 1.
She said the latest figures covered a broader range of claimants than before, including people who were previously in receipt of housing benefit, working tax credit or child tax credit – resulting in “a big augmentation” of the claimant count.
Jo said: “Things are still buoyant in terms of people leaving the register to take up work. There are still lots of vacancies out there.”
She said they included people taking up seasonal, temporary jobs over Christmas.
Jo said Jobcentre staff were turning the focus on enabling small firms to employ more people disabilities and health issues. So far, they were working with 18 employers willing to offer work experience or jobs to eligible job seekers.
“There is pro-active support where our team will help people who have been taken on by a small employer with issues such as getting to work and any adjustments or adaptations that may be necessary,” she said.
“Jobcentre Plus can support with working with small employers to develop and maintain relationships, ensure the correct person is referred to a vacancy or work placement opportunity, support employers and their employees when completing Access to Work applications, provide help and advice on work adaptations and access needs and make available funding of £500 to the employer after three months employment for any ongoing needs such as mentoring, additional management time or training.”
Nationally, ONS figures showed that the number of people in work fell by 56,000 between August and October – the biggest quarterly drop since the three months to May, 2015. There are just over 32m people in employment – up by 325,000 compared with a year ago. Unemployment fell by 26,000 to 1.4m, which is 182,000 lower than a year ago.
The claimant count increased by 5,900 last month to 817,500.
Unemployment in Yorkshire and the Humber rose by 4,000 to 131,000 during the three months to October.
Central government employment increased by 29,000 over the past quarter to just over 3m, mainly because of schools converting to academies, while the number of people employed in local government fell by 9,000 to 2.1m, the lowest since records began in 1999.
Private sector employment fell by 75,000 to 26.5m.