THERE has been another small drop in the number of people out of work in Worcester and the wider county.

According to the latest Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures, there were 2,575 people in the city claiming out of work benefits in December, the latest figure available.

This is down on recent months, when 2,625 in the Worcester constituency claimed in November, 2,730 in October and 2,780 in September.

The figure is also down on a year ago when, that December, 3,610 claimed out of work benefit. In comparison, in the pre pandemic month of December 2019, 1,665 claimed.

In the Mid-Worcestershire constituency, which includes Droitwich and Evesham residents, 1,955 people claimed last December. That was slightly down on the 1,960 that claimed in November, 2,055 in October and 2,100 in September.

In December 2020 2,785 claimed out of work benefits and two years ago, in December 2019, 1,080 claimed.

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And in West Worcestershire constituency, which includes Malvern, 1,695 people were out of work in December.

This was a drop on the 1,725 who claimed in November and 1,770 who claimed in October.

In December 2020, 2,445 constituents had claimed, while in December 2019 975 people from the constituency claimed.

Harriett Baldwin, MP for West Worcestershire, said: “Vacancies remain high and I get regular feedback from local companies that they are struggling to find the right people.

“I feel that our focus should be on helping those who are struggling to get work to be able to access the right skills training to help them back into the work place.

READ MORE: Almost 1,500 more workers join company payrolls in Worcestershire

“Of course, every person who is unemployed is one too many and I remain eager to help people who need help navigating the benefit system as they find their way back into work.”

Worcester MP Robin Walker and West Worcestershire Mid-Worcestershire MP Nigel Huddleston were contacted for comment.

In January Mr Walker told us he was looking forward to the city passing 2,500 - the amount out of work when he took over as MP in 2010.

"I'd like to see it drop faster, below 2,000 as quickly as possible," he told us.