Jobless total falls slightly

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The number of people claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance in the Lancaster district fell slightly last month.

The figure fell from 2,767 in November 2012 to 2,734 in December.

That represents 3 per cent of 16-64-year-olds in the district – below the 3.7 per cent national proportion and 4.2 per cent North West figure.

The number of young people aged 16-24 seeking work fell by five to 755 – 3.8 per cent of that age bracket, compared to 6.7 per cent nationally and 7.7 per cent regionally.

Nationally the quarterly jobless total fell by 37,000 between September and November to 2.49 million according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

David Parker, a director at the Lancaster and District Chamber of Commerce, who is also a partner at Oglethorpe, Sturton and Gillibrand solicitors in Lancaster, said: “My own feeling is that things are slightly flatlining and that nothing has changed a great deal.

“There were signs towards the end of last year that maybe things were slightly improving but it’s pretty tentative. We are very dependent on public sector workers in this area.

“So much will depend on government cuts to that sector which I don’t think have fully come through yet.”

Mr Parker added that recent figures which showed just 3.2 per cent of people referred to the Government’s work programme between June 2011 and July 2012 had found paid work for at least six months “seemed pretty low”.

The national average was only 3.6 per cent.