Concern over economy as jobless numbers rise

The number of unemployed people in Devon last month rose for the second consecutive month.

The number of residents claiming Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) jumped from 8,215 to 8,660 between October and November, representing a 5.4 per cent increase.

This is substantially higher than the 0.3 per cent increase seen last month and means that the rate of working age population receiving JSA rose from 1.8 per cent in October to 1.9 per cent in November.

However, this represents a fall from this time last year, when 2.1 per cent of Devon’s population were out of work and claiming JSA.

Youth unemployment across the county has increased from 2,470 to 2,675, representing an 8.3 per cent increase since last month.

The largest rise was in North Devon – 18.8 per cent - while the lowest was in Exeter – 0.9 per cent.

The figures come as the UK Consumer Price Index (CPI) revealed that annual inflation rose to 3.3 per cent in November, up from 3.2 per cent in October.

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This is the ninth consecutive month that CPI inflation has been stuck above three per cent, above the Government’s target of two per cent.

Retail Prices Index (RPI) inflation, which includes mortgage interest payments, rose to 4.7 per cent from 4.5 per cent.

Councillor Will Mumford, cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “We are naturally concerned that unemployment figures have continued to rise.

“It is particularly important that we concentrate on helping small businesses achieve their potential and enable the economy to grow. Devon County Council has recognised the contribution that small businesses can make and has a number of initiatives designed to help them prosper and thrive.

“We are already doing this by pressing the case for better broadband in remote parts of the county. This will help us access a wider market and make us more competitive.”

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