Is a fall in unemployment in Lowestoft and Waveney a sign things are getting better?
A sharp fall in unemployment is a sign of a "general feeling within the town that things are getting better", community and business leaders have said.
The number of people claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance fell by another 100 people between April and May this year, statistics from the Department for Work and Pensions published on Wednesday showed.
It means that the number of claimants has fallen by 38.3 per cent in the past year – from 1,790 to 1,105.
But even more striking is the drop in youth unemployment, with 240 young people in May this year claiming JSA compared to 515 a year earlier – a fall of 53.4 per cent.
Businessman Danny Steel – partner at Ganaden Properties and chairman of Lowestoft Vision, the town’s business improvement district (BID) – said: “Again, it underlines that we are going in the right direction and that Lowestoft is on the up.
“I think there is a general feeling within the town that things are getting better and that businesses are starting to invest and see more people.
“There is a lot of anticipation that the offshore wind industry is going to bring a lot of wealth into Lowestoft.
“For a lot of years, all we had was bad news with businesses closing. Now, it looks like we’re very much starting to see an improvement.”
However while Waveney MP Peter Aldous said he “welcomed those figures as very much a step in the right direction”, he warned: “We must never rest on our laurels.
“Our challenge is to attract more businesses and more jobs to the area and that means investment in skills, training and infrastructure.”
He said it was vital for government to work with employers to increase apprenticeships in the area, as well as for community campaigners to push for improvements to roads and rail in the area.
■ What do you think can be done to boost employment in Waveney? Write, giving your full contact details, to: Journal Postbox, 147 London Road North, Lowestoft NR32 1NB or email firstname.lastname@example.org