Hunts jobless figure breaks 2,000 barrier

UNEMPLOYMENT in Huntingdonshire has topped 2,000 claimants following an increase of 300 since December. However, the unemployment rate is still less than two-thirds of the national average. A total of 2,290 people in the district are looking for work and

UNEMPLOYMENT in Huntingdonshire has topped 2,000 claimants following an increase of 300 since December.

However, the unemployment rate is still less than two-thirds of the national average.

A total of 2,290 people in the district are looking for work and claiming benefits, according to the latest figures. It is the first time for at least 10 years - probably at least 20 years - that unemployment in Huntingdonshire has exceeded 2,000.

Huntingdonshire has the largest number of unemployed of any district in Cambridgeshire, having overtaken Cambridge city during 2008. The unemployment claimant rate in Hunts has risen from one per cent of the working age population to 2.2 per cent, compared with the national average of 3.4 per cent. Government statistics suggest the total rate of unemployment - including those not entitled to benefit and those who choose not to work - stands at over six per cent.


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Huntingdon's Jobcentre Plus has 234 unfilled vacancies - one for every 10 claimants.

In Cambridgeshire, only Fenland, with 3.4 per cent of working age claimants and an increase of 1.4 percentage points since December 2007, has a higher jobless rate.

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South Cambridgeshire claimants topped 1,000 in December for the first time, and rose by 130 in January to 1,179, but the claimant rate is still just 1.4 per cent. The regional average is double that, at 2.8 per cent.

Across the county, where a total of 7,727 people are claiming Jobseeker's Allowance, unemployment numbers are at their highest since February 1999 - but the population increase in the past decade means comparing raw numbers may be too crude a comparison.

Jane James, adviser services manager at Huntingdon jobcentre, said an increase in unemployment was normal in January, with temporary Christmas jobs coming to an end and other workers being laid off because of the weather. But there had been a steady increase for the past few months.

"The market is still quite buoyant," she added. There are more than 1,000 vacancies within a reasonable travelling distance, and some short-term funding is available to help with travel, if necessary.

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