UNEMPLOYMENT in Hartlepool has fallen.

Figures for June show 8.6 per cent of the population was unemployed, or 3,244 people.

This is almost a three per cent drop on the 11.4 per cent figure for the same period last year.

More than nine per cent of the population in Hartlepool was unemployed in May.

The June figure sees a fall in unemployment for the fifth month in a row.

"This is tremendous news for the area," said Sandra Cartlidge, Hartlepool Council's principal economic development manager.

She added: "We are clearly seeing the results of many successful initiatives."

The chair of Hartlepool Economic Forum, Brian Beaumont, said: "This is really encouraging news for us, but clearly we all still have much work to do if we are to bring unemployment levels down even further."

He said Hartlepool had been expecting to see the town's progress reflected in lower unemployment rates for some time.