Concerns despite fall in jobseekers
NEARLY 22,000 people are still looking for work across the Greater Bristol area despite a slight improvement in the unemployment rate.
Figures released yesterday showed that, across Bristol, South Gloucestershire, North Somerset and B&NES, 21,578 people were claiming Jobseeker's Allowance last month, down 392 on August's total of 21,970.
It came as ministers hailed the number of people in work, which reached its highest total ever.
But a new report found that up to 66 unemployed people are chasing jobs in retail in some areas, while a charity singled out the sharp increase in youth unemployment in North Somerset. The Prince's Trust said there had been a "dramatic rise" in the number of young people stuck on Jobseeker's Allowance for more than six months.
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It published a top 20 of local authorities that had seen the sharpest increase, including North Somerset, where it rose from 30 before the recession to 320 last month.
Professor Danny Dorling, who carried out the study, said: "There is a real danger that these young people will be overlooked and eventually forgotten, even if the overall youth unemployment rate falls – and we must not let that happen."
Employment minister Mark Hoban told the Post the increase in the long-term numbers was because of people being moved onto Jobseeker's Allowance from other benefits to help them get into work.
A separate study by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found huge numbers of people applying for jobs in the retail sector.
Mr Hoban said: "We know that the retail sector has taken a hit in recent years, so we need to look at where there are other vacancies, which are the sectors that are growing, how do we get people with skills able to apply for jobs in other sectors."
Across the South West, unemployment was unchanged on the previous quarter, at around 158,000, which was down by 19,000 on a year ago.
Council areajobseekers in Augustjobseekers in September
Bath and North East Somerset2,3892,317