More out of work in city

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UNEMPLOYMENT is rising as fears are raised for the economic recovery.

There were 8,801 people on Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) in the district last month, a rise of 668 since February.

The figure has risen by more than 800 since November, reversing a decline in dole claimants from 9,400 a year ago.

With youth unemployment in the UK at an all-time high, 18-24-year-olds make up more than 30 per cent of the unemployed in Wakefield.

Job vacancies in the district also fell from 2,296 to 1,902 last month, leaving 4.6 JSA claimants for every unfilled position.

Unemployment is expected to rise higher in the next few months when 500 redundancies are made at Wakefield Council.

Normanton MP Yvette Cooper said the government’s decision to scrap the Future Jobs Fund, which subsidised employment for young people, had made the situation worse.

She said: “Unemployment is back up again because the government is hitting jobs and cutting help for people looking for work.

“The Tory-led government should bring back the Future Jobs Fund and stop cutting too far and too fast.”

Nationally, unemployment rose by 44,000 to almost 2.5m in the last three months of 2010, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

But Chris Grayling, the employment minister, claimed the labour market was ‘stabilising’ after the overall national figure showed a slight fall in January.

The number of job vacancies had also increased nationally – but the ONS said most were temporary jobs.

Mr Grayling said: “It’s been a difficult few months in the labour market but things do now seem to be stabilising.

“The rise in the number of vacancies is particularly encouraging. The challenge for us now is to push ahead with our welfare reforms as quickly as possible so we start to move more people off benefits to take advantage of those vacancies.”

The unemployment figures were released this week after inflation rose to twice the government’s target.

The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) stood at four per cent – well above the 1.8 increase in average earnings.