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Unemployment down in Gloucestershire - but warning over future

By CitizenNews  |  Posted: January 23, 2013

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The number of people looking for work in Gloucestershire has fallen for another month, new figures show, but unemployment is up in the Forest of Dean.

A total of 9,831 people claimed benefits in December, a 185 fall on the month before, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

This is a difference of 114 on the year before.

Of the total, 6,530 men and 3,301 women claimed Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) in the county during the month.

Unemployment fell in all six districts except the Forest of Dean, which saw a small rise.

Cheltenham saw the biggest percentage of the population claiming benefits at three per cent, while the Cotswolds saw the least with 1.4 per cent.

The jobless figures announced by the ONS yesterday were: Cheltenham 2,320, down 15; the Cotswolds: 692, down 13; Tewkesbury: 1,023, down 36; Gloucester: 3,055, down 65; the Forest of Dean: 1,293, up six and Stroud: 1,448, down 62.

In November, the number claiming benefits stood at 10,016, down 171 on October.

David Owen, chief executive of Gloucestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: "December figures traditionally offer an upward bounce due to seasonal trading and activity, but Gloucestershire's Local Enterprise Partnership needs to be vigilant now. We have all noted profound changes on the High Street with Blockbuster, Jessops, Comet, Clinton Cards, JJB etc. but job losses in Gloucestershire's surrounding counties in the military, engineering and the automotive supply chain sector will also impact the county." 

Meanwhile, unemployment in the UK fell by 37,000 in the three months to the end of November, with the total figure of those out of work standing at 2.49 million, the ONS said.

Nearly 30 million adults were in a job in the quarter to last November, up by more than 500,000 on the previous year.

The number of 16 to 24-year-olds out of work increased by 1,000 to 957,000. Youth employment showed an increase of 12,000 however, as more students seek work. The number of people aged between 50 and the state pension-age claiming JSA also rose, to nearly four per cent.

Nick Bunting, CEO of The Prince's Initiative for Mature Enterprise, said: "We welcome the news that there was an increase of people in employment, which will hopefully give the UK economy a much-needed boost.

"Nonetheless, when you take a closer look at the number of those claiming JSA a different picture emerges.

"The number of people aged between 50 and the state pension-age who are claiming JSA has not only increased compared to last month but there has also been a rise of 3.94 per cent compared to this time last year."

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