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Monday, 28 July 2014

Unemployment drop fuels hopes of Cumbrian economic revival

HOPES of an economic revival in Cumbria have been boosted by another fall in unemployment.

Figures just released by the Office for National Statistics show there were 8,675 people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance last month, 35 fewer than in September.

The county’s unemployment rate was unchanged at 2.8 per cent.

It was the third consecutive monthly fall and the seventh fall in eight months. Seasonal factors are partly responsible such as the creation of temporary jobs in retailing and food processing in the run up to Christmas.

But crucially, the county’s unemployment total is now lower than it was this time last year.

Carlisle MP John Stevenson believes the trend is significant. He said: “The figures demonstrate that the Cumbrian economy is remarkably resilient.

“Certainly, in Carlisle, one of the key factors is that major employers have remained fully open.

“There hasn’t been a substantial cut in numbers and none has closed.

“We need to continue to focus on making the city an attractive place for existing businesses to expand and for new businesses to come in.”

The Conservative added: “There are a lot of positives around. I genuinely believe we are well positioned to benefit from the forthcoming upturn.”

Within Cumbria, Carlisle saw the steepest fall in unemployment last month. Its jobless total tumbled by 51 to 2,089, giving an unemployment rate of 3.1 per cent. The same applied in Eden, where the total fell by 18 to 403 (1.3 per cent).

But the picture in west Cumbria was not so rosy.

Allerdale’s claimant count climbed by 17 to 1,998 (3.4 per cent) and Copeland’s by three to 1,576 (3.5 per cent).

Nationally, the seasonally-adjusted claimant count increased by 10,100 to 1.58m.

However the rolling total, which includes people not eligible for Jobseeker’s Allowance, fell by 49,000 to 2.51m.

Average earnings jumped by 1.8 per cent in the year to August.

The number of young claimants fell in Carlisle and Eden, but rose in Barrow and South Lakeland and was unchanged in Allerdale and Copeland.

Overall, 5.6 per cent of young people aged 16 to 24 in Cumbria are claiming JSA, the national average is 5.9 per cent.

In Barrow the 7.9 per cent are claiming JSA and in Copeland, 8.4 per cent.

The number of unemployed claimants in the Westmorland and Lonsdale constituency in October 2012 was 547. The number of claimants is 12 lower than in October 2011 and 2 lower than in September 2012.

The fall has been welcomed by South Lakes MP Tim Farron "This announcement is encouraging news for our local economy, but only tells half the story. The South Lakes has a large elderly population which isn't accounted for.

"Furthermore, although unemployment is low; wages are often lower here as the South Lakes employs a higher percentage of seasonal workers than most other places in the region. This is why it is so important that we bring well paid jobs and apprenticeships to our community."

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