Jobless total falls again

THE figure for the number of people out of work in North Somerset has dropped for the fifth month in a row.

However, according to details released by the Office for National Statistics, the district still has more unemployed people compared with a year ago.

The number of people claiming Job Seekers’ Allowance (JSA) in the district peaked in February at 3,469. And although that number has now dropped to 3,297, there are still 420 more people claiming the benefit than there were in July 2011.

As a percentage of the district’s population, it means that 2.5 per cent of North Somerset residents are unemployed and claiming the benefit. That is compared to 2.6 per cent across the South West, and 3.8 per cent for the country as a whole. Of that figure, 2,175 claimants are male and 1,122 female.

The largest group of people in North Somerset claiming JSA are aged 25-49, with 1,775 people in that range claiming in July. Across the district a total of 675 people have been claiming JSA for more than 12 months – 0.5 per cent of the district’s population.

The drop in the number of JSA claimants in the district has mirrored a national trend, with 46,000 less people unemployed between April and June compared to the previous three months.

The Government’s Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, has welcomed the national fall in JSA claims.

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He said: “These are positive and encouraging figures demonstrating the strength of our private sector - notwithstanding the difficult economic times it is still creating jobs, the vast majority of which are full-time.

“Unemployment is falling and the claimant count is down.”