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Monday, 01 September 2014

Unemployment in Cumbria falls again

Unemployment in Cumbria fell again in November.

It was the fourth consecutive monthly decrease and the eighth drop in nine months.

Official figures from the Office for National Statistics show there were 8,531 people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, 144 fewer than in October. The county’s unemployment rate was unchanged at 2.8 per cent.

Significantly, there are now almost 200 fewer dole claimants than there were this time last year.

Carlisle’s Conservative MP John Stevenson was encouraged by the figures, which appear to be at odds with recent statistics showing a sluggish retail sector and a drop in manufacturing output.

He said: “I think the economy has performed better than people think. Carlisle is a good example. There has been quite a bit of investment, including the new Sainsbury supermarket.

“Pay increases have been very subdued and that has meant people haven’t priced themselves out of work.

“But because pay hasn’t kept pace [with inflation], living standards have dropped.”

National average earnings increased by 1.8 per cent in the year to September.

Within Cumbria, Copeland saw the steepest fall in unemployment last month.

Its jobless total tumbled by 63 to 1,513 giving an unemployment rate of 3.4 per cent.

The same applied in Carlisle where the total fell by 36 to 2,053 (3.0 per cent).

Allerdale’s claimant count fell by 36 to 1,962 (3.4 per cent), Eden’s by three to 400 (1.3 per cent), and South Lakeland’s by 15 to 786 (1.3 per cent).

Barrow was the only place where unemployment increased, by nine to 1,817.

The borough has the highest unemployment rate in the county, 4.1 per cent.

Nationally, the seasonally-adjusted claimant count fell by 3,000 to 1.58m.

The quarterly rolling total, which includes those not eligible for Jobseeker’s Allowance, fell 82,000 to 2.51m. This was the biggest quarterly fall since the spring of 2001.

Employment jumped by 40,000 to 29.6m, the highest figure since records began in 1971, but while private-sector employment grew strongly the number employed in the public sector decreased.

Employment Minister Mark Hoban said: “These figures show that the private sector is creating far more jobs than are being lost in the public sector.

“It’s a credit to British businesses that they’re proving wrong those cynics who claimed the private sector wouldn’t be able to step up.”

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