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  1. ITV Report

The West's jobless

Man walks past a job centre sign. Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

The number of people out of work and claiming unemployment benefit has fallen in the West Country.

The Government published the latest jobless figures on Wednesday.

  • 21,792 jobseekers in Somerset and Devon
  • 18,272 jobseekers in Bath, Bristol, North East Somerset, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire
  • 9,427 jobseekers in Wiltshire
  • 9,051 jobseekers in Gloucestershire
  • 8,420 jobseekers in Dorset

Nationally, the number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance fell to its lowest level for more than four years and employment reached a record high, but long-term and youth unemployment increased.

The so-called claimant count fell by 29,200 in July; the ninth consecutive monthly drop, to 1.4 million, the lowest since February 2009.

Total unemployment, including those not eligible for benefit, fell by 4,000 in the quarter to June to 2.5 million.

Pensions minister Steve Webb. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

Today's figures show a record high employment level, with more women in work than ever before.

This growth has been driven by a rise in permanent, private sector jobs, which suggests businesses are feeling positive about the future."

– Steve Webb, Lib Dem MP for Thornbury & Yate, and Pensions Minister.

Average earnings increased by 2.1% in the year to June, 0.3% up on the previous month.

The unemployment figure stays put at 7.8% although the underlying figures are encouraging.

It may fall sooner than Bank of England governor Mark Carney expects.

If unemployment hits 7% sooner than he expected that means the Bank may consider raising interest rates sooner than they (and we) expected.

Labour's Shadow Employment Minister Stephen Timms. Credit: PA Wire

The Government’s welfare reform has comprehensively failed at a time when youth unemployment is edging towards a million, and long-term unemployment is at its highest level in 17 years.

The Youth Contract is on course to miss its target by 92 per cent, and the flagship Work Programme has not hit a single one of its minimum performance standards."

– Stephen Timms, Labour Shadow Employment Minister.

Union: 'This is a recovery for the top 1%'

Frances O'Grady. Credit: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

The jobs news is mixed. A further rise in employment is encouraging but the number of young people out of work is creeping back towards a million.

The Government's idea of economic recovery is one where the super-rich are rewarded with tax cuts, while low-paid, insecure work is perfectly acceptable for ordinary workers.

It's no wonder consumers are having to run down their savings to keep up with the rising cost of living.

This is a recovery for the top 1%, while the living standards crisis continues for everyone else."

– Frances O'Grady, General Secretary, Trades Union Congress.

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