Devon long-term jobless figure doubles

The number of people classed as long-term unemployed in Devon has more than doubled over the past five years.

There were 2,675 jobless people claiming benefits for more than a year in 2011, up from about 1,080 in 2007, according to official statistics.

The government said most jobseekers moved from benefit into work "well within a year".

Quadra Foods, in Plymouth, shed 80 jobs on Monday after its parent firm went into administration.

The Department for Work and Pensions said in a statement: "Most jobseekers move from benefits and into work well within a year. The Work Programme is now in place providing personalised support for longer-term jobseekers.''

The figures came as unemployment in the UK rose by 48,000 to 2.67m in the three months to December and the number of people claiming Jobseekers' Allowance (JSA) rose to 1.6m.

The number of people out of work and claiming benefits in Devon, Torbay and Plymouth reached 21,843 in January, a rise of 2,100 over the past yearaccording to the government's statistics.

The unemployment rate was highest in Torbay where the unemployment rate is 4.9%. In Plymouth the figure is 4% and in Devon the figure is 2.4%. The UK average is 4.1%.

Devon County Council's economics unit saidthat it did not expect overall unemployment levels to improve "in the foreseeable future".

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