There was an unexpected rise in the number of people unemployed in the South West in the last quarter, despite a fall in the numbers nationally, it emerged yesterday.
Some 179,000 people were out of work across the region between December 2011 and February 2012, the Office for National Statistics said – a rise of 2.4% on the previous quarter and 8% on the same period last year.
In Bristol meanwhile, 13,178 were claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance, down from 13,287 in February.
Nationally, unemployment has fallen for the first time in almost a year, but the number of women out of work has risen to its highest level since 1987.
The jobless total fell by 35,000 in the quarter to February, to 2.65 million, a rate of 8.3%, while Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants increased for the 17th month in a row in March, up by 3,600 to 1.61 million, the smallest monthly rise since last December.
The Government said the figures were a “step in the right direction”, pointing out that employment grew by 53,000 to 29 million.
But in another show of how the region has been bucking national trends, it emerged that the number of unemployed women in the South West fell by 4.9% in the previous quarter. The number of unemployed men, meanwhile, rose by nearly 8% over the same period.
There was also better news for young people in the region, with the numbers of 18- to 24-year-olds out of work falling by just under 20% for the last quarter compared to a year ago.