UNEMPLOYMENT has fallen across Dorset and the New Forest, latest figures show.

In Bournemouth, where there were 3,900 people claiming jobseeker’s allowance after the economic slump of 2008-09, there were 2,209 last month.

The figure represented 1.9 per cent of the population, down 0.9 per cent year on year.

Poole had 1,129 claimants or 1.2 per cent of the population, down 0.7 per cent.

Helen Edmunds, Jobcentre Plus’s senior partnership manager for the Solent area, said Bournemouth’s figures were the best for five to six years.

“Nationally and across the region, we’re back to September 2008 levels of unemployment,” she said.

Bournemouth had 420 unemployed 18-24-year-olds, the lowest figure since 2007, she added.

She said more jobs were available in the catering and hospitality industries. The local Jobcentre had a dedicated team working with the industry and training providers to ensure they had suitable candidates.

There was also a new team dealing with over-50s, she added. “They work with them and do training and get them to see they’ve got skills and confidence and experience in the workplace that young people won’t have,” she said.

Bournemouth West MP Conor Burns – whose constituency saw the number of jobseeker’s allowance claimants fall to 1,084 from a peak of 2,082 – said the figures were “very welcome”.

“Both unemployment and youth unemployment are down in Bournemouth West, helping more people to support themselves and their families. Moreover, the national figures show that the government’s long-term economic plan is working,” he added.

North Dorset MP Bob Walter, whose constituency saw the number of claimants fall 0.6 per cent to 335, said he was “heartened”.

“Nationally we’ve also seen the largest annual drop in people out of work for 25 years.”

But the general secretary of Unison, Dave Prentis, warned of the danger of “under-employment” – people working part time because they could not find a full-time job.

“Too many people are stuck in minimum wage jobs, on zero hours contracts, “ he said.