UNEMPLOYMENT has fallen again, with the number of Jobseekers Allowance claimants in Dorset falling by more than 2,500 in a year.

Figures released on the day of the Budget showed 858,344 people out of work and claiming the benefit nationally, down 0.9 per cent on a year ago.

In Bournemouth, there were 2,077 Jobseekers Allowance claimants –1.7 per cent of the working population, down 1,070 from a year ago.

In Poole, there were 1,110 on the benefit, down from 493 in 2014. In the rest of Dorset, there were 2,254 claimants, down 972.

David McArthur, greater Wessex account manager for Jobcentre Plus, said: “We’ve seen another good set of labour market figures – there are now 617,000 more people in work than a year ago, and the national employment rate is the highest on record.”

He pointed out that Dorset’s claimant drop of 2,500 included 700 fewer younger people. The figure for over-50s out of work was improving at a similar rate, he said.

Contracting, the hospitality industry and the care sector were particularly strong, he said, with pay improving in the care sector especially as employers faced a shortage of recruits.

“Considering the holiday season has not yet started, which plays a major part in our local economy, we should see the unemployment figures continue to decrease. Local hotel and leisure developments should also continue to build upon our already strong labour market,” Mr McArthur added.

The claimant figures for the rest of Dorset were: Christchurch 260 (down 142 from last February), East Dorset 331 (down 167), North Dorset 256 (down 122), Purbeck 255 (down 97), West Dorset 406 (down 126), Weymouth and Portland 746 (down 318). The New Forest figure was 869 (down 493).