THE number of people claiming Jobseekers Allowance in the Huddersfield area rose last month – bucking a national trend which saw a huge cut in the claimant count.
Nationally, the number of people claiming Jobseekers Allowance fell by 32,300 in February to 1.59m – the biggest monthly fall since the end of 1997.
However, among local parliamentary constituencies, the trend remained upwards.
The claimant count for Huddersfield rose by 28 last month to stand at 3,737 while the Colne Valley figure increased by 82 to stand at 2,606. The Dewsbury tally was 54 higher at 2,939.
The number of unemployed people in Yorkshire fell by about 7,000 to stand at 230,000 or 8,7% of the working age population.
Across the UK, total unemployment – including those not eligible for benefit – was down by 33,000 over the quarter to January to 2.45m, the lowest for almost a year and the biggest three-monthly fall for almost three years.
But the good news was tempered with other figures showing a record 8.16m people classed as economically inactive, while the number of people out of work for longer than a year jumped by 61,000 to 687,000, the worst figure since 1997.
The number of people in work also fell in the latest quarter – down by 54,000 to 28.86m to give an employment rate of 72%.
Officials at the Office for National Statistics said the reason unemployment and employment were both falling was the rising numbers classed as economically inactive. They include students, those on long-term sick leave and those who have given up looking for work, increased by 149,000 over the three months to January.
Unemployment among 18 to 24-year-olds fell by 34,000 to 715,000, but for over-50s, joblessness rose by 14,000 to 398,000.
The unemployment rate fell by 0.1% to 7.8%, the first quarterly fall for almost two years.
The claimant count has fallen for three out of the last four months.
Other figures showed a 39,000 increase in job vacancies to 480,000, although the number of jobs in the UK fell by 119,000 to 30.75m.
The number of workers in the public sector increased by 7,000 to 6.1m in the final quarter of 2009 while private sector employment fell by 61,000 to 22.76m.
Work and Pensions Secretary Yvette Cooper said: “The fall in unemployment for the third month in a row is very welcome, but we should remain cautious. We’re not out of the woods yet and we are still determined to do more to support jobs and help the unemployed this year”.