Latest job figures do not tell the full story -says Wakefield MP Mary Creagh

MP Mary Creagh.
MP Mary Creagh.

The number of people claiming jobless benefits in the district fell for the ninth month in a row in December, latest figures show.

There were 6,918 people claiming Job Seeker’s Allowance in Wakefield job centres, a slight fall from 7,053 the previous month and down from 10,211 last March.

But hundreds of young adults were still stuck on the dole for a year or more, figures released by the Office for National Statistics show.

There were 430 18-24 year olds who had been claiming JSA for 12 months or more, down from 460 in January.

But Wakefield MP Mary Creagh said people were still struggling with the cost of living because many people were stuck in part-time jobs, and wages had failed to keep pace with rises in the cost of living.

Ms Creagh said: “Today’s fall in overall unemployment is welcome but it does not tell the full story.

“Prices are still rising more than twice as fast as wages which means working people in Wakefield are over £1,700 a year worse off.”

Long-term youth unemployment in the district remained almost 10 times higher than it was four years ago, Ms Creagh said.

She added: “There are 430 young people in Wakefield who have been unemployed for more than a year, up from just 45 in 2010.”

Nationally, the number of people claiming JSA also fell, by 24,000 to 1.25m in December.

The overall number of people out of work fell by 167,000 to 2.32 million in the three months to November, separate figures show.

Government bosses said it was the largest quarterly increase in employment since records began.

Employment Minister Esther McVey said: “Creating jobs and getting people into employment are central to our economic plan to build a stronger, more competitive economy, so it is very encouraging news that we’ve seen a record-breaking rise in employment over the last three months, the largest ever.”