u falkirk’s unemployment level is slightly down on the same period as last year, but one in six people are still chasing every available job.
The number of people claiming jobseeker’s allowance dropped 0.1 per cent to a rate of 4.5 per cent with 4702 out of work in April, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.
Of this number, 1210 were young people aged 18 to 24, 210 of them having been out of work for more than a year.
Falkirk’s unemployment rate has remained consistently higher than Scotland’s average over the past three years, peaking in February this year at 4.8 per cent compared to the country’s 4.4 per cent.
The total number of people in the district without a job claiming benefits up until November 2011 was 16,770 - one in almost every six of the working population.
There were 679 vacancies at the job centre in April - up 303 on last year.
This means there are 6.7 people claiming jobseekers allowance to every single job, but Falkirk For Business is hoping to stimulate more employment over the next 12 months.
Business engagement manager Michelle McKearnon said: ‘We’ll be continuing our support for local businesses over the coming year with initiatives including start-up courses and Business Gateway training.
“We will also be working with Forth Valley College and the Prince’s Youth Business Trust helping young people into business and encouraging take up of the New Enterprise Allowance scheme, helping long-term unemployed into self-employment and increasing local opportunities for businesses to expand.”
Leader of Falkirk Council Labour group, Councillor Craig Martin, says jobs are on the way through projects such as the £2 million town centre investment and Helix project.
He said: “We will also have the town centre regeneration in Denny which will produce local jobs and investments that have been put in place are starting to produce benefits.”
Falkirk’s SNP group leader Councillor David Alexander said the UK government’s austerity measures are “deeply damaging” to local interests. He added: “What we need to boost the economy is not further cuts but fiscal stimulus.”