‘Encouraging’ news for Redbridge economy as unemployment levels fall

The job market in Redbridge may be showing the first tentative signs of recovery as unemployment levels, economic inactivity and the number of people on Jobseekers’ Allowance have all fallen in the last year.

According to the Office for National Statistics, nine per cent of residents were unemployed between April 2012 and March 2013 – down on 10 per cent last year.

But the figure is still above the national average of 8 per cent.

More than a quarter of working-age Redbridge residents were also “economically inactive”, meaning they were not in employment or looking for jobs.

The figure was down on 29pc the previous year but above the national average of 23pc.

The number of people claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance also fell from 4 per cent to 3.6 per cent of the borough – standing at nearly 6,000 in July.

The benefit, intended to cover living costs, is being replaced by the new Universal Credit later this year.

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Ilford South MP Mike Gapes warned the improving figures do not take into account different types of employment.

He said: “There are a lot of people going into short-term and temporary jobs and the figures I’ve seen show the number of people unemployed for a long time is not going down.

“The number of people on temporary contracts is increasing so although unemployment is slightly down, there are people who have been out of work for a long time and that’s not getting easier.”

Conservative Ilford North MP Lee Scott said he had heard positive stories from employers and people looking for work.

He added: “In Redbridge, things are beginning to improve. There’s still a lot to be done but the signs are encouraging.”

Redbridge Council leader Cllr Keith Prince said the Work Redbridge programme and Job Centres had been working to get people off Jobseekers’ Allowance and into work.

He added: “It obviously would be better if we were below the national average but I think we are closing the gap.”

Cllr Prince said the council had funded advisors for Job Centres across Redbridge to direct people to training and advice to help them apply for jobs.