The levels of long-term unemployment among young people in Sunderland has halved in the last year, new government figures show – but concerns remain about pay levels and job security in the city.
The North East as a whole has seen the largest annual employment increase of all UK regions according to the latest figures by the Office of National Statstics (ONS).
Employment in our region has been boosted by 54,000 people getting into work in the last 12 months.
The Labour Market statistics show the number of long-term claimants of Job Seekers’ Allowance in Sunderland among 18 to 24-year-olds is down 50 per cent year-on-year, with the number of short-term claimants dropping by 32 per cent. The number of claimants of all age groups saw a decrease of 31 per cent and 26 per cent respectively.
North East employer engagement manager for Job Centre Plus, Steve McCall, put the increase down to a number of Sunderland call centres, as well as care homes taking on new staff.
“It’s good to see the trend is going the right way,” he said.
“The likes of Sunderland have seen especially large increases in employment opportunities in call centres. Barclays, Npower, EE and 2Touch have been all been recruiting. It’s permanent, it’s full time, it’s part-time and short-term contracts. It’s a mix of employment opportunities coming up.
“It’s perhaps down to getting people to think about where their skills can find them work rather than concentrate on a specific career choice.
“It is also important to point out that there isn’t just call centres and care h omes. With the football starting again, along with major events at the Stadium of Light, we run courses in events cover and we also have a major retail employer coming to Sunderland this calendar year, which will be looking to recruit.”
> Strangely, Steve fails to mention people being sanctioned and those dumped into workfare-type situations – I’d bet a lot of that alledged drop in the youth figures is actually largely down to those.
Source – Sunderland Echo, 14 Aug 2014
That item attracted the following comment, from one Captain Charisma, on the Echo website, which is worth reposting here :
Great to see such colourful insight from JCP
“North East employer engagement manager for Job Centre Plus, Steve McCall, put the increase down to a number of Sunderland call centres, as well as care homes taking on new staff.”
Well that is an expansive insight there Steve, perhaps McDonalds had a vacancy too… who knows eh?
The job centre is not fit for purpose, they do not assist anyone in seeking employment, they merely sign job seekers off weekly and hope that they get referred to an employability company so they can come off ‘their books‘.
The employment advisors are useless and not fit for purpose. Steve McCall there who is an engagement manager in this article illustrates just how woefully inept they are as he has no knowledge of the local job market. He is guessing that call centres and a few care homes are the reason for employment surges. No figures or facts to back this up. Anyone with half a brain knows the call centres are now the biggest employers in the region and Steve’s lack of investigation into the drop in unemployment just showcases the failings of the job centre.
The employment figures are in no way to do with the job centre.
I have dealt with the job centre for two previous recruitment campaigns and they have been really unhelpful.
When I was recruiting for my accountant, I was told by a Job Centre plus advisor in Sunderland “We only get dregs from the manufacturing industry’s and rubbish call centre staff who can’t hold down jobs for more than 2 months through our doors”.
I was absolutely disgusted by their attitude. I have seen people from all levels go through the doors of the JCP in Sunderland and I was shocked by the flippant attitude of their staff, what hope do job seekers have if that is the attitude of their employment advisors. I ended up using a local agency who at least give my company a professional and consultative service!
> Something to bear in mind in the light of today’s claims that unemployment is falling. The number of people claiming JSA might be falling… but not necesserily because they’ve found work.
This article was written by Patrick Wintour, political editor, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 14th May 2014
In total, 870,793 claimants were subject to an adverse decision to lose their benefit in 2013 due to a failure to meet Jobcentre Plus requirements to make themselves available for work.
In October alone a total of 88,489 were subject to adverse decisions, a record number of sanctions for a single month since the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) started compiling the figures.
The figures released on Wednesday alongside the labour market statistics also show an additional 530,957 JSA claimants were referred for a sanction throughout 2013, but the adjudicator rejected the proposed sanction. A further 95,400 decisions were reserved and nearly 500,000 referrals were cancelled.
Across Britain between October 2012 and December 2013 just over 1 million people have been subject to an adverse sanction, 633,000 were allowed to keep their benefit after a referral and 580,273 has a referral cancelled. The DWP introduced a more demanding claimant commitment regime in October 2012.
The government made no comment on the figures and produced no accompanying analysis of the figures, although the new sanctions regime represent some of the most important welfare reforms the government has introduced.
> Well, there’s a suprise…
Ministers argue it is vital they do not repeat the mistakes of the 1980s recession when hundreds of thousands were allowed to stay on incapacity benefit without any serious effort keep them close to the labour market.
> Mistakes ? Wasn’t putting people on incapacity benefit just another Thatcherite fiddle to reduce the unemployment figures ?
Critics claim the regime is punitive and some jobcentres effectively are given targets to sanction a proportion of claimants. Jobcentre managers acknowledge they have management information on the proportion of claimants who are being sanctioned, and questions can be raised if a jobcentre is out of line with other jobcentres. They insist they are no targets.
Between October 2012 and December 2013 the number of lower-level adverse decisions for JSA claimants were 550,033, a further 388,324 were intermediate and just under 90,000 were the most serious sanctions. A first offence for a lower-level sanction can lead to loss of benefit for a month. A second failure at this level of offence leads to loss of benefit for 13 weeks.
The bulk of those subject to intermediate sanctions were found not to be actively seeking work, and those subject to a low-level sanction were found to be failing to participate in the government work programme.
Since the new regime was introduced more than 120,000 of those JSA claimants subject to an adverse decision were classified as disabled.
The number of Employment and Support Allowance claimants subject to adverse decisions is also steadily rising albeit at much lower levels. The number of ESA claimants subject to a sanction in December 2013 was 4,879, mainly due to a failure to attend an interview.
The DWP work services director, Neil Couling, told the Scottish parliament welfare select committee in April that: “My experience is that many benefit recipients welcome the jolt that a sanction can give them. Indeed, I have evidence – which I can share with the committee if members want it – of some very positive outcomes from just those kinds of tough conversations. They are tough conversations to have on the jobcentre side, as well as for the claimants.
“Some people no doubt react very badly to being sanctioned – we see some very strong reactions – but others recognise that it is the wake-up call that they needed, and it helps them get back into work.”
> Or into a life of crime, a life on the streets or out of life altogether…
He said the essence of the DWP approach is managing to encourage, support and move people through the different attitudinal groups into the determined seekers’ group.
> And that means what exactly ?
He conceded the numbers being sanctioned had risen but said it was too early to say if this was a trend. He argued that any rise in sanctions may be due to a rise in the numbers of times the unemployed can be called to a jobcentre. He said: “The chances of having a sanction in the course of interaction with the state organisation are going up, so there might well be an increase in the numbers. However, that is not an outcome that we are driving towards.”
Couling also said the rise in use of food banks was due to an increase in supply rather than an increase in demand due to the rise in sanctions. He said: “If somebody is sanctioned, they will have no benefit income for the period of the sanction unless they claim for hardship, so those individuals will present to food banks. In fact, there have been sanctions in the benefits system since it started.”
> The man’s a moron – unfortunately he’s a moron in a position of power.
Source – Welfare News Service – 14 May 2014
Overall unemployment has fallen over the most recent period, but this seems largely down to huge leap in the number of people who are self-employed. A whopping 211,000 more people became self-employed over the last three months – with the total number now hitting 4.46 million.
It is impossible to know whether these newly self-employed people are actually making any money or have simply switched their claim over to Working Tax Credits. Companies running the Work Programme are known to coerce claimants into self-employment, which not only means they are taken off the unemployment figures but also that those running Government welfare-to-work schemes can claim huge job outcome payments.
If just one in six self-employed people are failing to earn any real income then the true…
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