THE Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) have released their latest employment figures for north Shropshire.

The DWP has developed a new measure of unemployed claimants known as the Alternative Claimant Count. DWP’s new statistics count the number of people claiming unemployment related benefits by modelling what the count would have been if Universal Credit had been in place since 2013.

The statistics therefore provide a measure of unemployment across local areas.

The latest figures show the number of claimants aged between 18 and 24 has dropped by 53 per cent over the last five years, which is a reduction in real terms of 300 people.

Meanwhile, there has been an overall decrease of 40 per cent for all claimants in north Shropshire over the last five years.

Despite the overall reduction in unemployment over the last five years, unemployment has increased since 2018.

Actual figures of the current alternative claimant count show that 254 people aged 18 to 24 are currently claiming, with 1,455 people overall in north Shropshire.

This is an eight per cent increase on claimants aged between 18 and 24 compared to 2018, and an eight per cent increase on overall claimants.

Claimants include anyone on Jobseeker’s Allowance and Universal Credit searching for work, plus housing benefit or child tax credit claims and partners of income based jobseekers allowance, employment and support allowance or income support claimants

A spokesman for the DWP said: “This reflects the resources JCP has put into working with claimants aged 18 to 24 and the work we continue to do alongside our local council and with our local employers across a very rural constituency to ensure more young people are given job opportunities.”

“The total number of claimants has also dropped by 40 per cent over the last five years, which is very positive news.”