Unemployment figures give cause for concern
UNEMPLOYMENT in Ivybridge has dropped by 29 per cent in just a year.
But there are fears that this could mean people are moving elsewhere to work.
Figures released by the Job Centre show that 73 people were unemployed in the whole of Ivybridge in May 2012, down from 103 in May 2012.
The figures had hit a peak last September with 105 and have since reduced to a year-long low.
But Ivybridge Central Ward has risen to 38 people out of work up from 36 in April. This means 1.5 per cent of the 1,400 working age population of the Ward are currently unemployed, higher than the South Hams overall average of 1.3 per cent.
Meanwhile, of Filham Ward's 3400 working age population, only 1.1 per cent are currently unemployed and of Woodland's 3000, only 0.5 per cent are.
Richard Peachey, Chairman of Ivybridge Chamber of Commerce, feels that as there is not a big employer recently opened in the area, the drop of almost 30 per cent could be a 'statistical quirk'.
He suggested that the drop could be held accountable to two factors, school leavers and university graduates and the need to commute elsewhere for jobs.
Mr Peachey said: 'Ivybridge is a commuter town, if you are unemployed and want to get a job, you have to drive to get to it. There are limited opportunities here.
'It could be that people can't find employment here and so are having to leave the area and therefore drop out of the figures.
'There is such a young population in Ivybridge, one of the largest of any town,' he added.
'Saying that one reason for the surprising decrease could be because many young people return after leaving school or graduating with a degree, to work locally in the retail or food sector on a short-term basis, while applying for jobs elsewhere.
However he feels that unemployment figures in Ivybridge are unlikely to rise in the near future and hopes that proposed plans for the local development framework will create more jobs for local people.
Mr Peachey added: 'It is hoped that the eastern end development will bring in more employment as there is a large allocation of employment land for the site.'
The site at the eastern end of Ivybridge, between Ivybridge train station and Exeter Road was identified as an area for mixed use development in the Ivybridge site allocation development plan document adopted in 2011 and could see up to five hectares of employment allocated land.
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