Total claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance halves in year

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First published in News

THE number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) in Oxford has halved during the past year.

It fell by 48 per cent from 2,112 to 1,099 in July, new figures from the Office for National Statistics revealed yesterday.

And across Oxfordshire, the number of people signing on dipped below the 3,500 mark for the first time to reach 3,402.

That is four per cent down since last month and a drop of 43 per cent year-on-year, meaning less than one per cent of the county’s population is now on the dole.

Unemployment among youngsters is still a concern, as the number of jobless 18- to 24-year-olds in Oxfordshire rose by 10 people between June and July to 720.

But year-on-year, the picture was rosier, with 720 signing on in July, down from 1,275 the same time last year.

Government think tank The Institute for Public Research published a report yesterday highlighting levels of youth unemployment.

It warned there are 868,000 young people aged 16-24 unemployed in the UK, and 247,000 of them have been looking for work for over a year.

Nationally, the jobless total was 2.08 million in the quarter to June, down by 132,000 on January to March and the lowest since the end of 2009, giving an unemployment rate of 6.4 per cent.

Catherine Coughlan, customer service operations manager for Oxfordshire JobcentrePlus, said there were 12,000 vacancies across the county, including roles in catering, retail, security and hospitality.

She said: “The overall number of people claiming unemployment benefit across the county is continuing to come down.

“Numbers tend to go up a little in July because of the influx of school and university leavers, but that has not happened.

“As for the 16- to 24-year olds who are out of work, they tend to be the ones who need help.

“We need to work them more intensively, so it does take that bit longer.”

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