THE number of people out of work in Worcester has continued to fall figures show.

And in further good news the number of county residents in employment is now above the pre-pandemic levels of February 2020.

According to the latest Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures, there were 3,235 people in the city claiming out of work benefits in June.

This is down on recent months, when 3,400 in the Worcester constituency claimed in May, 3,675 claimed in April and 3,770 in March.

The figure is also down on a year ago when, that June, 3,695 claimed out of work benefit. But the figure is up on the 1,635 that claimed in the June of 2019, before the pandemic hit.

The ONS data shows that in the constituency of Mid-Worcestershire, which includes Droitwich and Evesham residents, there were 2,365 claimants in June. That is down on the May figure of 2,530, and the April figure of 2,730.

In comparison, in June 2020, 2,930 claimed, while in June 2019 there were 935 claimants.

And in the West Worcestershire constituency, which includes Malvern, 2,065 people were out of work in June.

This was a drop on the 2,240 who claimed in May, and the 2,370 in April.

In June 2020, 2,495 constituents had claimed, while in June 2019 880 people from the constituency claimed.

Latest figures also show that in June of this year there were 264,840 Worcestershire residents in payrolled employment, 4,614 more than in May 2021 and 1,816 more than February 2020.

Worcester MP Robin Walker said the figures were encouraging but said there is "still a big job to do after the recovery".

MP: Worcester MP Robin Walker

MP: Worcester MP Robin Walker

"I'm really pleased with the direction of travel," the MP said.

"We do seem to have beaten the national trend. It is good to see such a rapid fall over a three month period.

"But clearly it is still too high.

"In my time as MP (prior to the pandemic) we had it below 1,000, and obviously we are a long way from that now.

"What I want to see is further progress. We have got extra help from the government coming in terms of restart grants which will be helpful to businesses."

LEADER: Cllr Marc Bayliss

LEADER: Cllr Marc Bayliss

Marc Bayliss, Worcester City council leader and cabinet member for economy and skills at Worcestershire County Council, added: “This is really positive news for the people of Worcestershire and shows real resilience from the businesses in the area and the range of support provided throughout the pandemic is having an impact.

"We know that the past 17 months have been challenging for businesses and for those looking for work and these figures are really encouraging."