Jobless benefit claims in West Norfolk have bucked the national trend and risen for the second month in a row, according to the latest figures published this week.
The number of people who are out of work and claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance (JSA) in the borough stood at 2,386 in January, an increase of 44 on the previous month.
The increase, which took the figure to its highest level since August of last year, is the reverse of the national trend, which saw JSA claims fall by more than 15,000 in January.
But figures released by the Office for National Statistics on Wednesday indicated that total unemployment in the borough, including people who are not claiming benefits, remains broadly in line with the national average at around 4,800, or seven per cent of the workforce.
That figure, which is the government’s preferred measure of unemployment, is based on quarterly indicators taken up to the end of the calendar year.
However, the new rise in claims in West Norfolk has also been mirrored in neighbouring districts.
The total in Breckland, which includes Swaffham, increased by 76 in January to 1,746, while the total unemployment rate is above the national average at 7.7 per cent.
In North Norfolk, which covers Fakenham, total unemployment stands at around 5.3 per cent, while the JSA claim total rose by 83 last month to 1,213.
And there was also a small rise in claims in South Holland, where the figure rose by 11 to 1,127. Total unemployment there is thought to be around seven per cent.