The number of people claiming Jobseekers Allowance in Chesterfield has fallen by nearly half in the last five
years, figures reveal.
Data from the office of national statistics show the number of people claiming the benefit in the town has reduced from 3032 in August 2009, to 1642 in July 2014.
The statistics include the number of people claiming Jobseekers Allowance and National Insurance credits from the Chesterfield Jobcentre Plus.
George Cowcher, Chief Executive of Derbyshire’s Chamber of Commerce, said: “These statistics show the positive effects that the strengthening economy is having on the wider labour market here in Chesterfield and north east Derbyshire.
“The number of Jobseekers Allowance claimants is closing in on its pre-recession level, which highlights just how strong and flexible the local labour market is at present.
“Anecdotal evidence from businesses across a range of sectors shows confidence is rising, which is being reflected by increases in staffing levels at many local companies.”
Colin Hampton, co-ordinator at the Derbyshire Unemployed Workers Association, said while there is no doubt there had been a fall in the number of claimants, there was a bigger story behind the figures.
He said the drop was partly down to sanctions imposed on those claiming Jobseekers Allowance, forcing them into work.
He added: “There is no alternative for some people than to take inadequate jobs, with low working hours and low pay.
“We want to see people in work, but in quality jobs that lift them out of poverty.
“My message is that lots of people out there are saying that they should stop benefits, but people ought to be careful what they ask for.
“People out there will accept any terrible working conditions rather than facing going on the doll.”
lWhat do you think? Are people being ‘forced’ in to work or is the labour market in Chesterfield changing?