UNEMPLOYMENT in York has risen slightly - but still stands much lower than a year ago.

Latest statistics show 2,230 people - or 1.7 per cent of those eligible - claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) in the City of York Council area in February, up by 47 since January.

But the figure is 23.8 per cent down on the 3,112 claimants in February last year and less than half the regional average of 3.9 per cent, and it is also lower than the national average of 3 per cent.

York council leader James Alexander said there was also a 45.5 per cent decrease in the number of 18-24 year olds claiming over one year.

He said the monthly increase was due to seasonal fluctuations over the winter period but he was pleased by reductions in long-term unemployment and long-term youth unemployment. “Despite today’s slight increase, York continues to outperform the country and the region in tackling unemployment,” he said.

He warned that the unemployment figures masked the issue of in-work poverty, exacerbated by cost of living increases in housing, energy and childcare, which was why the council was encouraging more organisations to implement the Living Wage.

In North Yorkshire, the number of JSA claimants fell by ten people to 6,794, or 1.8 per cent of those eligible, down massively from 9,257 in February last year.

In East Riding of Yorkshire, the number of JSA claimants fell by 211 to 5,205 last month, or 2.5 per cent, which compares with 7,079 in February 2013.

Selby District saw a rise of 56 to 1,164 claimants in February, or 2.2 per cent, which compares with 1,442 in February last year, while Ryedale's figure of 545 was down by two since January and by almost 200 on last year.