UNEMPLOYMENT numbers have fallen in York and North Yorkshire, with fewer people claiming Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA), this month.

New figures by the Office of National Statistics, released yesterday, showed the number of people claiming JSA in York dropped in December to 2,127 – a reduction of six from last month, and only 1.6 per cent of those eligible for the benefit.

The figures mark the tenth consecutive drop in JSA claimants, and were welcomed by Council Leader James Alexander, who said the figures showed York “continues to outperform the country and the region in tackling unemployment”.

He said: “It is also good to see that York is continuing its progression towards pre-recession levels of unemployment, something which the council is striving to reach as soon as possible. The fact that the last three years have seen a reduction in Job Seekers Allowanceclaimants of 36.4 per cent is encouraging and shows that the council is continuing to prioritise jobs and growth across the city.”

In Selby, 1,060 people were registered to claim JSA, a drop of 20 since November’s figures were released.

Nigel Adams, MP for Selby and Ainsty, said: “The latest drop in those seeking Job Seekers Allowance and the record rise in employment nationally is extremely encouraging and further confirmation that our part of North Yorkshire and Britain is on the road to recovery under the Government’s long term economic plan”

In East Yorkshire, 5,288 people claimed JSA compared with 5,208 the previous month, 2.6 per cent of those eligible - a rise of 0.1 per cent.

The national average percentage of people eligible for JSA is currently 2.9 per cent, in the Yorkshire region the average is 3.8 per cent, but Coun Alexander said the lower figures did not reflect the numbers of people who were in work, but still living in poverty due to rising cost of living.

He said he had written a letter to Prime Minister David Cameron recommending minimum wage match the living wage, and said he expected the number of jobseekers to rise in coming months as people seek a post-Christmas change.