HUDDERSFIELD and district has seen a big rise in the number of people claiming Jobseekers Allowance.
Official data shows there were 3,709 claimants in the Huddersfield parliamentary constituency last month – up by 181 on the figure for December, 2009.
The claimant count for Colne Valley was up by 99 at 2,524 while the Dewsbury figure was 145 higher at 2,885.
Across Yorkshire, the number of people claiming rose by about 11,000 last month to stand at about 240,000 or 9.1% of the workforce.
Nationally, the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance soared by 23,500 last month to reach the highest level since Labour came to power in 1997.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics showed the claimant count increased to 1.64m in January – the worst figure since April, 1997.
Long-term unemployment – covering those out of work for more than a year – increased by 37,000 in the quarter to December to 663,000, also the highest figure since 1997.
The number of people classed as economically inactive – including students, carers or those who have given up seeking work – reached a record high of 8.08m representing more than 21% of the working age population.
However, total unemployment over the three months fell by 3,000 to 2.46m – giving an unchanged jobless rate of 7.8%.
Other data from the ONS showed that the number of people in employment fell by 12,000 to just under 29m.
There was a drop of 37,000 in full-time employment, offset by a 25,000 increase in part-time employment.
Unemployment among 18 to 24-year-olds fell by 13,000 in the last three months of 2009 to 725,000, while for 16 to 24-year-olds the total dropped by 13,000 to 923,000.
The Government welcomed the fall in the total jobless figure and youth unemployment, but said the overall figures also showed that continued support was needed to secure the recovery.
Ministers warned that further rises in unemployment were expected before the summer.
Work and Pensions Secretary Yvette Cooper said: “These figures show how important it is to keep increasing not cutting back on the help for people to get work.
“Unemployment is much lower than expected last year, reflecting the tough decisions families and businesses have taken to protect jobs, as well as the substantial extra investment in getting people back to work.
“But we know things are going to be tough for a while and we expect further increases in unemployment before the summer. That’s why it’s so important to increase help for people now, not cut it back.”