The Westcountry's dole queue has flat-lined as the economy continues to struggle.
Some 27,745 adults in Devon and Cornwall last month claimed unemployment benefit – just 65 fewer than in July. It was the sixth month in a row the so-called claimant count has fallen in the two counties.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the national jobless total fell by 7,000 to 2.59 million in the quarter to July – an unemployment rate of 8.1% – after a big jump in the number of people in work, with London one of the biggest gainers after hosting the Olympic Games. The wider rate of unemployment – as opposed to just those claiming Jobseekers' Allowance – is not broken down to county level. But the measure for the greater South West indicates an improving picture.
In the same period, 9,000 fewer people were out of work, representing a 0.4% decrease, meaning 153,000 people were unemployed. The unemployment rate is 5.7% – the lowest in the UK.
Most encouraging was the increase in employment, with 44,000 more people in work. The percentage bounce – 1.4% – was even bigger than Olympic-fuelled London. The South West held sailing events, but the number of jobs created in Weymouth was nowhere close to those in the capital.
New Employment Minister Mark Hoban told the Western Morning News: "There are good signs there – an extra 44,000 people in work. There are challenges in different areas in the South West. One of the things we want to do is ensure the people running the [back to] Work Programme work hard to tackle those most localised challenges."