Employment boom in region – but Leeds is lagging behind

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LEEDS CONTINUES to have one of the highest rates of joblessness, despite a dramatic fall in unemployment across the region.

Latest figures from the Office of National Statistics show the number of 16 to 64 year olds in work in Yorkshire and the Humber is at an all-time high.

The number of out-of work residents dropped by 2.2 per cent between towards December last year and February. This represented the highest fall in the UK and putting the jobless total at 166,000, lowest since records began in 1971.

Yorkshire and the Humber still has second-highest rate of unemployment in the UK, however, at 6.2 per cent, well above the national average of 5.6 per cent.

And in Leeds, the ONS tables of local authorities show that 17,655 people are currently claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance.

This means that 3.5 per cent of the city’s population are forced to live on benefits while they look for work. Only Bradford, Rotherham and Doncaster score worse in the breakdown for Yorkshire and the Humber.

Business leaders and the Prime Minister David Cameron have welcomed the news on overall employment in Yorkshire, which corresponds with a national trend.

But Rachel Reeves, shadow work and pensions secretary and candidate for the Leeds West constituency, called for better wages in the wake of the announcement.

She said: “Working people are earning on average £1,600 less a year since 2010.”