WASHINGTON: Unemployment in Cumbria rose for the second time in two months, according to official figures released today. There were 4,650 job hunters claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance or Universal Credit last month, 1.5 per cent of the workforce, up from a restated figure of 4,460 in December. The claimant count rose in five of the county’s six districts. Carlisle saw the highest increase, where it rose by 65 to 865 (1.3 per cent) people. Copeland and Allerdale both saw rises of 45 people newly out of work. Copeland’s figure rose to 975 (2.3 per cent) from 930, while Allerdale saw an increase from 1,075 to 1,120 (1.9 per cent).
South Lakeland saw a rise of 35 to 360 (0.6 per cent) followed by Eden where the figures increased by 5 to 210 (0.7 per cent). Barrow-in-Furness bucked the county trend though and saw the number of claimants fall by 5 to 1,120 (2.7 per cent). Overall there were 75 fewer people out of work and claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance or Universal Credit in Cumbria than at the same time in 2016, though official figures were at their highest since May 2016.
Shane Byrne, employer partnership manager for Cumbria with Jobcentre Plus, explained the jobless figure typically rises in January following the end of seasonal work. He said: “It is pretty static, there is nothing to be too concerned about.” Mr Byrne added that there are a large number of job vacancies in Cumbria. “It is quite difficult for employers at the moment,” he said. “There are still certain employers who have got problems recruiting in Cumbria.” Nationally, figures show a record number of people are in work following another fall in unemployment to rates not seen for a decade. More than 31.8m adults are in a job – 300,000 more than a year ago – after a quarterly rise of 37,000, while unemployment fell by 7,000 to just under 1.6m. That figure is the lowest since the start of 2006, giving a jobless rate of 4.8 per cent, one of the lowest in Europe. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that the number of people on the so-called claimant count fell by 42,400 in January to 745,000, the biggest monthly fall since the autumn of 2013.