EXETER'S jobless total fell only slightly last month but enough to take it below 2,000, official figures show.
The number of people on the dole in the city dropped from 2,010 in September to 1,997 last month. This is almost 100 fewer than the 2,187 recorded for October last year.
However, surrounding districts saw the number of people out of work increase. And across Devon, the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) rose by 195 between September and October to 9,205.
In East Devon the claimant count rose from 1,126 to 1,161 last month, while in Teignbridge it increased from 1,474 to 1,535.
In Mid Devon the number of people claiming the out-of-work benefit barely changed, rising by just one to 947 on the month.
Unemployment across the South West dropped by 2,000 to 155,000 in the quarter to September, giving a jobless rate of 5.8 per cent – the lowest in the UK.
Nationally, unemployment fell to its lowest total for over a year, although there was an increase in the number of people claiming JSA.
The jobless total dropped by 49,000 in the quarter to September to 2.51m, the lowest figure since last summer.
But the claimant count jumped by 10,100 last month to 1.58m, the highest since July, and the biggest monthly rise since last September.
The number of people in work increased by 100,000 in the latest quarter to just under 30m, a rise of over half a million over the past year.
Other figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that long-term unemployment – those out of work for over a year – increased by 12,000 in the quarter to September to 894,000, while 443,000 people have been jobless for over two years, up by 21,000. For the third consecutive month, the number of people in Devon claiming JSA is lower than a year earlier.
This follows the trend seen nationally, although the yearly drop has occurred at a faster rate in Devon than UK average – a 3.3 per cent decrease compared to one per cent for the UK.
Cllr Will Mumford, Devon County Council's cabinet member for economy, enterprise and employment, said: "The increase in JSA claimants between September and October is not unexpected given the seasonal nature of Devon's labour market. The yearly comparison still signals signs of recovery. Nonetheless, the months ahead are likely to remain challenging. Hopefully an increase in activity linked to Christmas will help to create some additional job opportunities over the coming months."
Youth unemployment in Devon rose slightly, from 2,700 people in September to 2,730 in October. The council said this was not unexpected, as seasonal job opportunities which young people often benefit from will be coming to a close. Across the UK, unemployment fell by 2.2 per cent in October.