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Duchy jobless falls to new low

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: August 15, 2013

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The number of people claiming unemployment benefit in Cornwall and the Scillies is at its lowest level in three years.

Around 7,280 people were claiming Jobseekers' Allowance in the region last month – around 1,370 fewer than July last year. And the last time the area's so-called "claimant count" was lower was in September 2010.

Improving employment data is the latest indicator suggesting the still sluggish economy is appreciably improving.

George Eustice, Conservative MP for Camborne and Redruth, said: "These figures are very welcome and are further evidence that the Cornish economy has started to turn the corner and that a recovery is underway."

But some commentators urged caution, warning wages were still depressed and struggling families were settling for shorter hours just to hold down a job.

Tim Jones, Devon and Cornwall Business Council chairman, said: "We are seeing discounted wage levels with rates averaging 2001 levels as a result of part-time work and zero-hour contracts."

Nationally, total unemployment fell by 4,000 to 2.5 million. But Labour's Shadow Employment Minister Stephen Timms said: "The real story of the labour market is a living standards crisis with falling real wages."

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