UNEMPLOYMENT in the Malvern Hills has fallen for the seventh month in a row.

A total of 546 people in the district – 359 men and 187 women – were claiming Job Seeker’s Allowance in July, down from 553 in June.

This also represents a massive drop since last July, when 879 people living in the district were claiming the benefit.

But the amounts of younger people out of work increased slightly.

Of those aged between 18 and 24, 145 were claiming JSA in July, five more than the previous month, while 155 were between 25 and 39, down from 160 the previous month.

Although the amount of claimants aged between 40 and 59 decreased from 245 in June to 230 in July, the amount aged 60 and older increased by five from 15 to 20.

West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin welcomed the figures.

"Thanks to businesses locally and nationally, a record number of people in the UK are in work, with 1.8 million more families enjoying the security of a pay packet since 2010," she said. "Youth unemployment has also fallen by a record amount nationally.

“Until everyone is in the kind of employment they want, we need to keep to a long term economic plan that keeps inflation under control, mortgage rates affordable, council tax increases low, education standards rising and welfare reforms that make work pay.

“The only way to long term prosperity for the UK is strong investment from business and improving workplace skills ?for employees."

In Worcestershire as a whole 5,941 people, 3,816 men and 2,125 women, were claiming JSA, down from 6,074 last month and more than 3,000 less than the figure in July 2013, when 9,222 people were claiming the benefit.

Of these, 1,450 were aged between 18 and 24, exactly the same amount as the previous month, while 2,025 people aged between 25 and 39 were out of work, down from 2,055 the month before.

The amount of claimants aged between 40 and 59 also decreased, down from 2,330 in June to 2,235 in July while those aged 60 and older fell from 245 to 230.