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Youth unemployment falls 40 per cent in Worcester amid economic boost
YOUTH unemployment has fallen 40 per cent in Worcester in one year - as the latest joblessness figures showed another boost across the county.
New data published yesterday has revealed how the economic recovery is continuing its upward momentum.
The overall number of people claiming unemployment benefits has fallen to 6,074 across Worcestershire for June - a drop of 485 on the previous month and 3,144 below June 2013.
It has plunged by 2,000 since January alone and now stands at its lowest level since July 2008.
The figure for Worcester stands at 1,429 people claiming unemployment benefits, 88 lower than May's data and 672 below June 2013.
Youth unemployment in the city stands at 340, a drop of 225 on the same time last year.
The data has been lauded by Worcester MP Robin Walker, despite claims the growth in low paid, part-time jobs are massaging the figures.
Overall unemployment has fallen 43 per cent since 2010.
Mr Walker said: "I welcome these dramatic increases in employment and the fact that these are the best figures since June 2008.
"The figures shows what a long way we have come, but the journey is by no means over.
"I want to make sure there are jobs for every young person in Worcester and that means backing the businesses and entrepreneurs who create them.
"Any young person denied the chance to work is a tragedy.
"Labour left us with far too many such tragedies and I'm glad we are now seeing a firm and long term recovery driving opportunity for young people.”
But Councillor Joy Squires, Worcester's Labour parliamentary candidate, said: "Obviously unemployment was at its highest when we were in the depths of a worldwide recession and young people bore the brunt of that.
"It's a quick fix - a lot of this is because more young people are in part-time jobs, apprenticeships, zero hours contracts.
"When you speak to young people you get a different picture - many of them don't feel the jobs are there and that the opportunity to acquire the skills needed to get on is too limited."
Mike Dzioba, business development manager for the Department for Work and Pensions covering Worcestershire, said: "The fall really has been quite spectacular.
"It's largely a reflection on the excellent work being done to prepare people for work.
"We've got 154 apprenticeships available in Worcestershire right now, and the rate is £260 a week - that doesn't strike me as low paid.
"In Worcester, last month there was 800 more jobs available than in June last year - that also tells a story."