28,095 adults in Devon and Cornwall claiming unemployment benefit
The jobs market worsened in the Westcountry last month despite the biggest national quarterly fall in unemployment for more than a decade.
Some 28,095 adults in Devon and Cornwall last month claimed unemployment benefit – 320 more than in October.
It was the second month in a row the so-called claimant count has jumped in the two counties. But the increase was driven mainly by Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, where 520 more people were claiming Jobseekers' Allowance (JSA) this month.
The dole queue shortened in Plymouth and Torbay and was up only modestly – by ten more – in Devon. However, the total for the two counties is 1,460 people lower than a year ago.
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The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the national jobless total fell by 82,000 to 2.51 million in the quarter to October. The ONS said it was the biggest quarterly fall since the spring of 2001.
Employment jumped by 40,000 to 29.6 million, the highest figure since records began in 1971 and up by half a million on a year ago.
The wider rate of unemployment – as opposed to just those claiming JSA – is not broken down to county level. But the measure for the greater South West bucked the national trend, indicating a dip after months of improvements.
In the same period, 2,000 more people were out of work, meaning 155,000 people were unemployed. But the South West unemployment rate is 5.7% – the lowest in the UK.
There was also a decrease in employment, with 6,000 fewer people in work.
Employment Minister Mark Hoban pointed to 300 jobs being created at the Money Group call centre in Plymouth as a positive sign.
He told the Western Morning News: "I would say it's an endorsement, and it's a demonstration of people's confidence in people living in Devon and Cornwall, that they have the skills that growing businesses are looking for."
He added: "It's a positive sign. It can have a cluster effect. Once an area's recognised as having a strength in call-centres other businesses flow into the area."
Mr Hoban went on: "People can be sometimes quite snobby about jobs in call centres but there are real opportunities for progression.
"People can become team leaders they can manage call centres. There's opportunity for personal development which is really important, and it helps people achieve their aspirations."