Unemployment has more than doubled in some areas over the past year, with up to seven job hunters per vacancy.

South Dorset, which includes Swanage and surrounding villages, has seen the biggest increase in the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance – a staggering 104 per cent.

In August 2008 there were 675 people claiming unemployment benefit in South Dorset; by August 2009 this had risen to 1,378.

Yet there are just 208 Jobcentre vacancies, leaving 6.6 people per job.

Large increases have also been recorded in Bournemouth and Poole.

The number of claimants has increased by 96 per cent in Bournemouth East – 6.9 people for every vacancy – and almost 94 per cent in Bournemouth West – 4.5 people per vacancy.

Poole’s total has increased from 857 to 1,605 – a jump of over 87 per cent – and now stands at 5.4 times the number of vacancies.

In Christchurch, unemployment has risen by 72 per cent and there are 5.6 people per vacancy.

In Mid Dorset and North Poole, the rise was almost 71 per cent and there are 5.5 people per vacancy.

North Dorset has seen the smallest increase of 68 per cent and unemployment is now 4.9 times the number of vacancies.

Conor Burns, Tory prospective parliamentary candidate for Bournemouth West, said: “These figures highlight just how bad things are getting under this government. Unemployment is a tragedy.

“There can be a profound sense of frustration.

“Although we live in quite an economically advantaged area we must do all we can to support those who find themselves in this difficult position.”

But Employment Minister Jim Knight, who represents South Dorset, said the region had previously experienced very high levels of employment and that, although the increases were big in percentage terms, there were still fewer unemployed than in other areas.

“The action that has been taken to borrow money to stimulate the economy has been measured to save half a million jobs and we will continue that stimulus.”