THERE are fewer young people on unemployment benefits in Bradford than there was 12 months ago, the latest job figures have revealed.
The number of people aged 18-24 years who are claiming Job Seeker's Allowance (JSA) in the city has dropped 33.2 per cent to 3,720 - down from 5,565 in July last year.
However, the annual drop was not mirrored in the month-by-month analysis. In June this year 3,655 young people were claiming JSA.
Overall across all working-age groups in Bradford, the number of people claiming benefits dropped annually and monthly.
Diana Towler, employer and partnership manager for Bradford Jobcentres, said Bradford was on the right path.
"I certainly think Bradford is on the up," she said: "This month overall the claimant count is 14,728. That is another decrease of 227 from last month, which is 1.5 per cent fewer, and 4,641 down from 12 months ago, a 24 per cent decrease, which is huge.
"For the 18-to-24-year-olds, for July, it is 3,720, which is a very slight increase on June where it was 3,655. That is down to seasonal changes and students making claims for benefits - it is not unexpected. But it is down by 1,845 in the last 12 months, which is a decrease of 33.2 per cent."
She added: "I think it is brilliant because we are actually showing now is that, month-to-month, the number of people moving into work is increasing and some of the encouraging information I have had is that the numbers moving into permanent employment is also increasing."
Bradford East Lib Dem MP David Ward welcomed the unemployment figures for his constituency, which shows that the number of people claiming JSA - 4,229 - had fallen by 1,270 people in a year, the lowest level since August 2010, and by 56 since June.
"This is excellent news for Bradford with the number of people claiming JSA at its lowest since August 2010," said Mr Ward.
"Over the past 18 months we have seen a sustained fall in unemployment in Bradford and with the Government’s stewardship of the economy, I’m confident that unemployment will continue to fall over the long term for Bradfordians.
"I’m particularly delighted about the reduction in youth unemployment which shows that our drive to increase apprenticeships is working to get more young people into work and education."
However, Mr Ward pointed out that the figures represented a rate of 8.6 per cent of the economically-active population aged 16 to 64, which is the 8th highest out of the UK’s 650 Parliamentary constituencies.
He said: "Bradford still has one of the highest unemployment levels in the country so no complacency as 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 occurs."
The number of young people claiming JSA in Bradford East was 1,025 - up 20 since the June figures, but down 550 since July last year. In Bradford South in July there were 740 young people claiming JSA - 30 fewer than June and 400 down on a year ago. And for the same age group in Bradford West, there were 1,225 claimants, compared with 1,180 in June and 1,690 in July 2013.
Overall, in all age groups, in Bradford South there were 95 fewer people claiming last month (2,886) than in June (2,981). In Bradford West, the number was up by four - 4,591 to 4,595.
News that the number of unemployed claimants in Keighley fell by 38 from June to July was hailed by Keighley Conservative MP Kris Hopkins
He said: "This is further good news for Keighley and Ilkley as the number of residents getting back into work continues to grow steadily month by month.
"Nationally, we have seen the biggest annual fall in unemployment in 25 years, and the largest reduction in long-term unemployed since 1998."