THOUSANDS of people have gone back to work in the Capital over the past year – sparking fresh belief that the city’s economy is flourishing.
New figures reveal that the number of people claiming jobseeker’s allowance in Edinburgh has plummeted by almost a quarter in the last 12 months to the lowest level for five-and-a-half years.
More than 2500 former benefits claimants have found work since July 2013, with the number of young people claiming jobseeker’s allowance falling by 760, and the number of long-term unemployed dropping by 715.
The figures were today hailed by city chiefs as evidence the Capital is in rude health.
Economic development convener, Councillor Frank Ross, said: “The figures for Edinburgh are the lowest for five-and-a-half years and are the result of effective collaborative working with private and public sector partners throughout the city.
“They show we’re in a very strong position two years on from the launch of our Strategy for Jobs.
“Going forward, the employment situation is looking even better with so many new developments such as the St James Quarter, Haymarket and New Waverley moving forward this year.
“These developments alone will create around 8000 jobs. We will continue to focus on helping people into work or learning by working closely with employers and investors in the city.”
The turnaround reflects a broader national trend that has seen youth unemployment and long-term unemployment fall faster than they have in decades.
UK Ministers claim the positive jobs figures are down to reforms to the benefits system and their push to replace public sector jobs with work in the private sector.
Across the UK, the past year saw the biggest drop in youth unemployment since records began, with 206,000 18 to 24 year-olds leaving the dole and finding work.
Unemployment fell by 437,000 over the same period, the fastest in 25 years, and now stands at 6.4 per cent, the lowest figure since late 2008.
UK Work and Pensions minister Iain Duncan Smith said: “In the past, many people in our society were written off and trapped in unemployment and welfare dependency.
“But through our welfare reforms, we are helping people to break that cycle and get back into work.”
However, Scottish Trades Union Congress assistant secretary Stephen Boyd said: “What we’ve seen is the labour market returning to more normal levels of unemployment, and it’s been the strength of the economy rather than welfare reform that has been the major factor in that.”
“He added: A lot of the work that has been created is low-wage and insecure employment, and we’ve seen a fall in wages.”