The giant Christmas shopping spree is leading the jobs boom in Exeter.
Seasonal vacancies in shops and restaurants gearing up for Black Friday and Christmas break mean that the city has almost full employment.
Princesshay recently held a recruitment day looking for staff at flagship stores including Superdry, Starbucks, MAC and Café Rouge
New employment figures released today show that in Exeter, there are 810 people claiming benefits – down 3.5% from 840 in October last year.
Jo Harris, Jobcentre Customer Service Manager based in Barnstaple, said: “It has been busy right across the board for seasonal vacancies in retail and hospitality for Christmas.”
The Devon figures are broadly in line with the UK findings.
The Office for National Statistics show that employment remains at a near record high, with 32 million people in work.
UK unemployment is down 59,000 on the quarter and is the lowest rate since 1975.
Figures for Mid Devon show that the claimant rate is down 6.5% yearly to 425; Torridge is down 6.4% to 435.
But North Devon has shown a 12.2% increase in claimants to 505 from 450 last year.
But here may be some good news on the horizon with scallop and cuttlefish processors Coombe Fisheries looking for 15 people to start immediately and potentially more apprentices in the new year.
In Tiverton, the opening of Screwfix and a new factory in Willand for Dragonfly foods, production could generate vacancies.
In Newton Abbot, South Devon there have been recruitment days for Harrier & Pro-Direct, care group Thera and Channings Wood.
Across the UK, in the last year the number of people on zero hours contracts has fallen by 20,000.
Minister for Employment, Damian Hinds said: “The strength of the economy is driving an increase in full-time, permanent jobs and a near-record number of people are now in work thanks to the Government’s welfare reforms.
“When unemployment fell to 5% early last year, many people thought it couldn’t get much lower, and yet it now stands at 4.3%.
“Everyone should be given the opportunity to find work and enjoy the stability of a regular pay packet. We’ve cut income tax for 30 million people since 2010, meaning people keep more of their money each month.”
Workers’ earnings, excluding bonuses, rose 2.2% in the three months to September compared with a year ago, the Office for National Statistics said.
But they fell 0.5% in real terms when accounting for inflation, marking seven months of negative pay growth.
The number of jobless – people not in work but seeking a job – fell 59,000 to 1.42 million during the period.
With inflation at a five-and-a-half-year high of 3% in October, pay is failing to keep up with higher prices.
Source: Devon live