UNEMPLOYMENT in Huddersfield has more than doubled since the start of the recession.
The number of people out of work has risen from 1,846 in November 2007 – the month before the recession hit – to 4,104 in November 2012.
The figures, published by the government’s Office for National Statistics, relate to the number of people actively looking for work and available to start within a fortnight in the Huddersfield ward. They represent a rise from 3.3% to 7.2%.
The picture for surrounding districts is similar, with urban areas being hit harder than rural ones. The Colne and Calder Valleys have almost identical rates and rises in their jobless totals.
In November 2007, both valleys had 1.7% – or exactly 1,071 unemployed people. This figure has risen to 3.8% (2,477) in the Colne Valley and 3.4% (2,244) in the Calder Valley.
The local ward with the highest increase in unemployment is Dewsbury with 5.1% (2,899). Five years ago the rate was just 2.2%. Batley and Spen has seen a jump from 2.1% to 4.8%.
Kirklees Council is one of the area’s major employers with 12,460 full-time equivalent staff. Excluding schools, the figure is 7,140, which is a 1,060 less employees than in 2010/11.
A spokeswoman said the council’s anti-recession measures had won national praise and it continued to work on a wide range of projects to support the local economy.
She said: “The local data is entirely in line with the national picture. This is a nationwide recession, not an issue confined to certain areas.
“We support local business, safeguard local jobs and a major priority for the council is to promote growth and employment.
“There has been a dramatic cut in our funding from central government and this has led to enormous financial pressures, but we are continuing to invest in schemes and projects which have a positive impact on the local economy.”
Kirklees Cabinet members have just approved two flagship initiatives costing £1m.
The Kirklees Job Fund will help 180 unemployed 18 to 24-year-olds gain new skills to help secure paid jobs with local employers.
The Access to Finance programme will create a fund for Kirklees businesses.
Local companies are being encouraged to apply for grants and, in some cases, loans to create new jobs. The scheme aims to support around 20 firms and create 120 new jobs.
Blackspots for high unemployment in West Yorkshire are Bradford West with 8.3% and Leeds Central with 8.2%.
The worst place in the country to find a job is Birmingham Ladywood where 11.8% are without work.
Despite the local rise in unemployment, Huddersfield is still below the national average of 7.8%. Across the UK, private sector pay rises lagged behind those in the public sector over the last year. Wages went up by 1.79% in private companies, compared with 2.5% for those in civil employment.
Within the EU, more than one in four people are out of work in both Spain and Greece.