UNEMPLOYMENT in the Bradford district has fallen below the 10,000 mark for the first time in seven years.

The number of people claiming Jobseekers' Allowance (JSA) in Bradford during August dropped by 322.

Figures released by the Office of National Statistics show that 9,994 people claimed unemployment benefits, down from 10,316 in July.

Account manager at Jobcentre Plus in Bradford Tracy Othen said: "The figures have gone down and are significantly less than last year. This time last year we had 4,224 more people claiming Jobseekers' Allowance, which is 30 per cent.

"This is really good news. In addition the 18 to 24 year-old count for August was 2,260, which compared to last year is a 36 per cent reduction - with 1,310 fewer people claiming JSA, which is really positive."

The unemployment rate for the district is three per cent, compared to 2.3 per cent regionally and 1.7 per cent nationally.

August's statistics break down as 6,276 males and 3,718 females claiming the benefit it Bradford.

Regionally the claimant count fell by 700 to 81,100, a fall of 22,900 on the same time last year. this compares to a rise nationally of 0.2 per cent.

"Employment in Bradford is increasing because activity in Bradford is increasing, with The Broadway shopping centre currently recruiting," Ms Othen said.

"We are working closely with SkillsHouse to ensure that people are getting the opportunity to access the jobs being created in The Broadway."

Within the district the biggest drop in those claiming JSA was in Bradford West with 154 fewer people receiving the benefit last month, down to 3,024.

In Keighley, 5.9 per cent fewer people claimed JSA, down to 1,155.

In Bradford East this figure dropped to 2,799, down 2.5 per cent or 73 people. In Bradford South the number of claimants also fell, down 1.9 per cent or 39 people to 2,037.

However in Shipley, the figure rose slightly, by 16 claimants to 979.

Bradford West Labour MP Naz Shah welcomed the news.

"I believe it is a testament to the efforts of our Labour-run local authority and the decisions they have made around investment in the City Centre Growth Zone and supporting development of businesses and jobs in Bradford as a whole.

"However, I am concerned that in key parts of Bradford West unemployment remains stubbornly high," she said.

"I will continue to support the efforts of Bradford Council to create vibrancy, jobs and wealth in Bradford and I hope with Broadway development opening soon we will see this spring in Bradford’s step continue."

Keighley and Ilkley Conservative MP Kris Hopkins added: "I am delighted that the number of people in the constituency who out of work has fallen significantly once again.

“Another 72 local residents and their families will now have a wage coming in, which is good news for them and the local economy."