UNEMPLOYMENT has fallen to its lowest level for more than a year – despite an increase in the latest monthly figures for people claiming jobseeker’s allowance.

The jobless total fell by 49,000 in the quarter to September to 2.51m, the lowest figure since last summer.

But the so-called claimant count jumped by 10,100 last month to 1.58m, the highest since July and the biggest monthly rise since last September.

The claimant count rose slightly in local parliamentary constituencies. The Huddersfield total was up by 17 in October to stand at 4,045 while Colne Valley was up by 10 at 2,699 and Dewsbury was higher by seven at 2,849.

Unemployment in Yorkshire fell by about 20,000 to 247,000 during the three months to September, or 9.1% of the workforce.

The number of people in work across the UK increased by 100,000 in the latest quarter to just under 30m – a rise of over half a million over the past year.

Other figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that long-term unemployment – those out of work for over a year – increased by 12,000 in the quarter to September to 894,000, while the number of people jobless for over two years rose by 21,000 to 443,0000.

Part-time employment increased by 49,000 to 8.1m, close to a record high, while the number in full-time employment rose by 51,000 to 21.4m.

Unemployment among women fell by 10,000 to 1.09m while the jobless tally among men fell by 39,000 among men to 1.43m.

Unemployment among 16 to 24-year-olds fell by 49,000, which accounts for the total fall in today’s jobless figures.

Employment Minister Mark Hoban said: "It’s good news to see yet another increase in the number of people in work and to see unemployment fall again. The fall in youth unemployment is particularly welcome, although we’re not complacent about the scale of the challenge still facing us."

But Paul Kenny, general secretary of the GMB union, said: "With unemployment stuck at 2.5m, a lot of families face a miserable Christmas without any hope of getting a job. It is definitely hurting but it’s not working."