UNEMPLOYMENT benefits claims have plummeted to their lowest levels since records began in 1992.

Claims for Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) in Brighton and Hove dropped to the record low of 4,047 in May.

Tourism, hospitality, financial and digital services were cited as key job sectors – but temporary service work could also be behind the drop.

The picture was echoed across Sussex where unemployment fell in line with the South East.

Tony Mernagh, executive director of the Brighton and Hove Economic Partnership, said: “Brighton has a proven track record for job creation and we were the number one spot in the country for private sector job growth between 1998 and 2008 but there is more at play here.

“Our local Job Centre Plus is perhaps more creative than most at getting people into work.”

But he warned too many jobs in the city were part-time, not enough were higher-paid jobs and youth unemployment was a concern despite declining numbers.

The comments were echoed by Jason Woodford, CEO of Brighton digital marketing firm Site Visibility, who said: “The successful and growing digital economy is absorbing motivated and skilled talent but youth unemployment remains a problem.

Ana Christie, chief executive of Sussex Enterprise, said new rules meant jobseekers had to do more to find work.

Ms Christie said: “The economy is definitely growing with record numbers of people in work and unemployment falling. Businesses are investing and growing their teams and increasing people skills as well as providing flexible working solutions.”

Michael Vasques, 19, of Moulsecoomb, explained how he secured an apprenticeship with web agency OTV Systems after eight months receiving JSA.

He said: “Being unemployed was really horrible but the Job Centre was incredibly helpful. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have got the position.”