Unemployment falls in Leeds as Minister hails UK jobs ‘landmark’

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Unemployment has fallen again in Leeds as the Government hailed a “landmark” moment in the battle to get people into work.

The British Chambers of Commerce said it believes Britain’s economy has returned to growth as it was announced unemployment fell across the country by 50,000 over the past quarter, and that there are now more people in work than ever before.

In Leeds there was a modest fall in the number of people claiming jobseekers’ allowance - down 205 in September to 24,695.

In Yorkshire as a whole, unemployment fell by 9,000 people – a relatively modest drop, but significant following bad news month-on-month throughout the summer.

David Cameron hailed figures showing the overall number of people in work employment grew in the quarter to August by 212,000 to 29.59 million - the highest since records began in 1971. But he acknowledged there were still “enormous economic challenges” facing the country.

“We do have the measures in place to tackle this scourge,” he said. “We have to rebalance our economy because the state sector was too big, the private sector was too small.

“What’s happened since the election is one million new private sector jobs, which more than makes up for the inevitable loss of jobs in the state sector.”

The figures also saw youth unemployment fall by 62,000, to below the one-million mark for the first time in over a year.

But Labour leader Ed Miliband said youth unemployment and long-term unemployment were still higher than when the coalition came to power. Long-term youth unemployment had been “steadily rising” for the last year or 18 months, he said.

Unite leader Len McCluskey said: “Hidden behind the statistics is the stubborn underlying problem of the long-term unemployed, whether it is the 16 to 24-year-olds or other groups seeking work. It is those areas that ministers need to concentrate on as a matter of urgency.”

However, Employment Minister Mark Hoban said it was a “real landmark” to see more people in work than ever before.

A worker wearing a hi-vis jacket at a Carillion construction site in central London  Photo:  Yui Mok/PA Wire

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