THE number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance reached its highest monthly total for more than two years in June – despite a fall in unemployment figures.

Official figures also showed a record number of people working part-time because they could not find a full-time job.

A total of 1.52m people were claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance last month – a rise of 24,500 over May and the biggest monthly increase since May 2009.

The number of women on Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) increased by 9,500 to 493,900, the highest figure since 1996.

Women were also affected most by a 16,000 increase in redundancies in the quarter to May. The total was 144,000, mainly in health and social services.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that total unemployment, including those not eligible for JSA, fell by 26,000 in the latest quarter to 2.45m – although those out of work for up to a year increased by 11,000.

The quarterly fall was mainly among 16 to 24-year-olds, with unemployment in this age group down by 42,000 to 917,000.

Long-term unemployment – those out of work for more than a year – fell by 37,000 to 807,000.

The JSA claimant count in Huddersfield fell by 51 to 3,539 in June, but rose by 48 to 2,539 in Dewsbury and by just four to 2,455 in Colne Valley.

The jobless tally in Yorkshire fell by about 17,000 to stand at 227,000 for the three months to May.

National figures also revealed a 32,000 increase to 9.33m in people classed as economically inactive.

The number of people in work increased by 50,000 to 29.28m – some 293,000 lower than the pre-recession peak.

The number of people working part-time because they could not find a full-time job increased by 80,000 to 1.25m – the highest figure since records began in 1992.

Employment Minister Chris Grayling said there were “some encouraging signs” in the labour market figures, adding: “It’s really important that we continue to support the economy and encourage businesses to invest and create jobs.”

Paul Kenny, general secretary of the GMB union, said: “The prospects for those without work is bleak as those made redundant in the public sector sign on at the dole office.”