Plymouth's jobless total is down for the seventh month in a row
PLYMOUTH'S jobless total has fallen for the seventh successive month, hitting a year low, latest figures show.
However, concerns have been raised the fall may be down to people taking part-time jobs because they could not find full-time work.
Data from the Office for National Statistics shows the number of unemployment claimants in the city dropped to 6,287 in September – down 203 on August.
This is down on the 7,035 recorded for September last year, and the 12-month high of 7,050 seen in February.
But neighbouring areas bucked the downward trend. South Hams saw an increase in the number of people on Jobseekers Allowance, from 691 in August to 723 last month.
And in Cornwall the claimant count also rose from 8,630 to 8,673.
Responding to a further jobless fall in Plymouth, Oliver Colvile, Tory MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, said: "This is reassuring, but what I am very concerned about is they are probably down because of the number of people working part-time.
"There's obviously been a big cultural change where people realise they need to remain in employment."
He added: "I am impressed with what the university and council have been doing to try and promote growth in the private sector."
Employment Minister Mark Hoban told The Herald: "We are seeing positive signs in these figures but we are not complacent about the challenges that we face."
For the South West latest figures showed employment grew in the quarter to August by 15,000 to 2,545,000, while nationally it rose by 212,000 to 29.59 million, the highest since records began in 1971.
Meanwhile, unemployment in the region remained unchanged in the quarter at 158,000 a rate of 5.8 per cent – the lowest in the UK.
Across the country it fell by 50,000 in the same period to 2.53 million, the lowest since the spring, giving a jobless rate of 7.9 per cent.
The ONS also reported that part-time employment increased by 125,000 between March and May to a record high of 8.13 million.
The number of people in part-time jobs because they could not find full-time work was close to a record high at 1.4 million.
Youth unemployment fell by 62,000 to 957,000, the lowest figure for over a year.