THE NUMBER of people claiming jobseeker’s allowance in the county has dropped significantly.

Figures show the number of claimants in the Dorset County Council area has decreased by almost a quarter in the space of a year.

The latest unemployment bulletin, issued by the county council, has figures showing there was a 24.7 per cent drop in the area from 4,028 claim-ants in March 2013 to 3,032 claimants in March this year.

Hilary Cox, Dorset County Councillor for environment, pictured, said: “This is great news for young people in Dorset who are obviously finding employment.

“We are pleased to see our figures are in line with national trends. We are continually working to support and develop local economies across the county.”

There was an 18 per cent drop in the number of claimants in Weymouth and Portland.

In March 2013, 1,224 people claimed for jobseeker’s allowance. This fell to 1,004 claimants in March this year.

Julie Cleaver, president of Weymouth and Portland Chamber of Commerce, said the figures provided evidence that the town was improving.

She said: “If we carry on doing all the good work we have been striving to do over the past three to five years, then the investment will turn into employment opportunities, which is a good thing for the town.”

An increasing number of businesses are hiring in the South West, according to new government figures.

Figures released by the Department for Work and Pensions show the region reaching a new high.

Data obtained between December 2013 and February 2014 reveals 2,618,000 people employed, which is an increase of 76,000 from the previous year.

Employment Minister Esther McVey said: “The South West saw its employment level hit a new record high of 2.62 million in the last three months, and nationally, more and more businesses are hiring – so it’s a credit to them that Britain is working again.

“But there is still more to do – which is why I’m calling on even more employers in the South West to work with us to tap into the fantastic pool of talent and potential the area has to offer.”