THE number of people claiming unemployment benefits across Bradford district fell by almost 600 last month.

Office of National Statistics data, published today, showed 14,955 people claimed Job Seekers' Allowance (JSA) across the Bradford district in June, a reduction of 588 on the previous month.

June's figures break down as 9,474 men and 5,481 women with a total of 3,655 people in the district aged 18 to 24 seeking work, which is 7.5 per cent of the total age range for the area.

This leaves 4.5 per cent of those eligible still claiming the benefit, above the Yorkshire and the Humber average of 3.2 per cent and the UK average of 2.4 per cent.

Those claiming Job Seekers' Allowance in Bradford for up to six months is 6,685, six to 12 months is 2,840 and more than 12 months the figure is 5,425.

Overall, the unemployment rate for all ages in Bradford has gone down by 22 per cent in the period between July 2013 and June 2014.

Diana Towler, employer and partnership manager for Bradford Jobcentres, said: "I'm very encouraged by the figures but it's a slow building process.

"There has been a lot of focus on young people and youth unemployment but it has reduced in excess of 20 per cent over the last 12 months in Bradford. A lot of that is down to the youth contract.

"The Westfield development brings other opportunities for jobs. We are working with Bradford Council and other partners to look at delivering a level of support to recruit of vacancies that will come up.

"Over the next 12 months we will help prepare people to move into the jobs that come out of Westfield.

"There is still a lot of work to do but we are going in the right direction."

Meanwhile, nationally, the unemployment rate for the UK stands at 2.12million, a reduction of 120,000 in the three months to May 2014.

The rate of unemployment also fell again, to 6.5 per cent from 6.6 per cent in the three months to April.

The number of people claiming Job Seekers' Allowance nationally last month fell by 36,300 to 1.04 million.

In the Bradford East constituency, the number of people claiming JSA was 4,285, its lowest since December 2010.

Susan Hinchcliffe, Bradford Council's executive member for employment, skills and culture, said: “Bradford still has one of the highest unemployment levels in the country so I’m not complacent, there is still much more we have to do to bring more investment and more jobs back to Bradford and I’ll be doing what I can to ensure that this happens.”

The GMB union also pointed out that Bradford's employment rate at 66.3 per cent was 7.4 per cent below the UK average of 71.6 per cent.

Tim Roache, GMB regional secretary, said: "The fall in unemployment is welcome. However it is time to drill down into the details of what types of jobs are being created and in what parts of the country.

There are large swathes of the country and a great number of workers that have seen little or no benefit from this recovery. In places like Kingston upon Hull and Bradford the level of employment is way below the UK average of 71.6 per cent. This needs addressing."