Unemployment figures highlight regional crisis

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Unemployment in Dumfries and Galloway continues to be above the UK average, according to new jobs figures published this week.

The latest statistics published by the Office National Statistics (ONS) show that the Job Seekers Claimant count in Dumfries and Galloway for May 2013 was 3363 (3.7%), compared to 3350 for May 2012 (3.7%). The UK average is currently 3.6%.

The figures also show that youth unemployment across Dumfries and Galloway local authority area remains above both the Scottish and UK average at 955, with a claimant count rate of 8.6% compared to a UK average of 6.4% and a Scottish average of 6.9%.

Responding to the figures, Dumfries and Galloway MP Russell Brown said: “Once again the latest unemployment figures show that the jobs crisis across Dumfries and Galloway continues, with unemployment in our region still above the UK average. We have also seen more and more cases of people having sanctions imposed on them by the job centre so they lose their benefits, and they don’t show up in these figures, but are clearly still out of work. There are also the hidden figures of those who recently took early retirement packages from big manufacturing companies or the public sector as part of their jobs cuts. They don’t show on these figures, but they are still jobs lost to the local economy.”

Dumfriesshire MSP Elaine Murray said: “The fact youth unemployment in our region continues to be so high is a matter for real concern. People need to remember that for every statistic there is a local youngster suffering as a result of the lack of job opportunities in our area. There is no doubt that the need to tackle youth unemployment and to create quality, instead of just low paid jobs, is the single biggest challenge facing our area and one that sadly both the Scottish and UK Governments are just not focused on”.