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Job Centre at Devizes

South West unemployment lower than average

Unemployment in the region remains below the national average, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics.

The labour market statistics for the South West show that in the three months to September 2013, the official unemployment rate was 6.4 percent, compared to a national average of 7.6 percent.

However, the was a slight increase of point one of a percent compared to the previous three months.

Commenting on the figures, Phil Smith of Business West said: “This is another set of positive figures, confirming the flexibility and resilience of the UK labour market, and point to continued economic growth over the next year.

“The fall in the jobless rate is clearly more rapid than the MPC initially predicted in August, but this should not be seen as a failure of the forward guidance policy. Following the surprise fall in inflation, there is also scope for interest rates to remain at their current low levels for an extended period.

“In the South West there was a very slight increase in unemployment to 6.4 percent, in comparison to 6.3 percent last quarter. An increase of 11,000 people (162,000 to 173,000) was recorded during this period.

“Although this is disappointing, our regional unemployment rate is still well below the national average of 7.6 percent and remains in the bottom three regions in England along with the East and South East which have unemployment of 5.8 percent and 5.9 percent respectively.

“The government must now build on the progress made so far and support job creation, focusing in particular on more support for exporters and improving access to finance for growing businesses.”