South Yorkshire is in line for an employment boom over the next year as employers continue to create new jobs.
Job Centre bosses predict further falls in unemployment during 2016, after they reported more positive news for this year.
The number of people in Sheffield claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance has dropped by 1,410 over the past year – a fall of 13 per cent. There are now 9,115 claimants living in the city.
In Doncaster, there has been a drop of 895 over the same period, which is a 15 per cent fall. Youth unemployment in the town has also fallen by more than half in the last five years, with 1,470 18 to 24-year-olds claiming benefits.
Rotherham saw a drop of 915 claimants in the last year, down 18 per cent, while in Barnsley they were down 315 – an eight per cent fall.
Nigel Coleman, an employer account manager at Sheffield’s Cavendish Court job centre, said the last two years have been really encouraging for job seekers, with the positive trend set to continue. He said: “It has just been incredible. The last 24 months have been consistently very encouraging.
“Employers in all sectors are wanting to do stuff. We are getting every industry out there knocking on our door.”
Mr Coleman said there were plans to double the size of the Christmas recruitment drive at Meadowhall Shopping Centre next year, and talks are due to start about jobs at Sheffield’s planned Ikea store.
Mr Coleman admitted some of the new jobs created recently in South Yorkshire are temporary Christmas roles but said employers are looking to keep staff on into the New Year.
He said: “Over the Christmas period a lot of retailers and those in the hospitality sector take on extra staff to cope with the crowds. Some of these are taken on specifically on short term contracts.
“These will be coming back into the unemployment market but if it’s anything like last year, we didn’t see the regular flow back that we had seen in previous years.”
Nationally, the UK employment rate has reached a new record high of 73.9 per cent.
Employment Minister, Priti Patel, said: “We are ending the year on a high, with a record rate of employment, and wages continuing to grow.”
But the Unite union warned fall in unemployment masked a continued rise in self-employment and low paid part-time work.
n 260 jobs - see p47-49.