Long-term unemployment 'of deep concern'

PUBLISHED: 12:00 25 November 2010

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LONG-TERM unemployment in North Somerset has risen by more than 300 per cent in less than three years - according to figures released this week.

Statistics show the number of people claiming jobseekers allowance for more than 12 months is now more than three times higher than in January 2008.

Although figures released at the same time show that the number of people in work in the South West did actually rise by 1.1 per cent in July to September 2010, compared to the same period last year, campaigners say it is too early to talk about a jobs recovery.

The Trade Unions Congress says North Somerset is rated fifth highest, out of 36 South West local authorities, when it comes to the increase in the number of people who have been claiming job seekers allowance for more than 12 months.

The group, which campaigns on behalf of 58 trade unions, says that in January 2008, 85 people were in that position, whereas in September 2010 it was 306 per cent higher, at 345.

South West TUC regional secretary Nigel Costley said: “The recent fall in unemployment is welcome, but it would be dangerously naïve to believe that these figures constitute a jobs recovery.

“We can see from announcements of job cuts being made in the public sector that bad news is on its way and it will take some months for these losses to show up in the statistics.

“The latest employment figures conceal worrying trends – the fact that women are finding it harder to secure jobs than men and the sharp rise in long-term unemployment, which is of deep concern.”

In the South West, from July to September this year, male employment rose by 3.5 per cent, but female employment fell by 1.3 per cent.

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