UNEMPLOYMENT has fallen across Dorset, according to new figures.

Data from the Office of National Statistics has shown a drop in the number of claimants in July.

Comparing figures from last year, there was a 35.8 per cent drop in Dorset from 8,420 to 5,403.

In West Dorset there was a 36 per cent drop, from 555 claimants to 355.

In Weymouth the number of claimants for July fell from 932 to 629 – a 32.5 per cent reduction.

South Dorset MP Richard Drax said he was pleased with the news.

He said: “I’m delighted. Any fall in unemployment must be welcomed because clearly the aim of any government is to get people back into work so they can create a life of opportunities and aspiration for them and their families.

“This news is of on the back of some of one of the worst economic recessions the country has ever been through.

“The fact that the ship is at last beginning to turn is a huge relief and very good news for the future.”

Weymouth and Portland Borough Council’s economic development spokesman Ray Nowak said: “That’s good news for people in the borough in terms of more people having more cash in their pockets.”

Cllr Nowak said the announcement tied in well the council’s masterplan for Weymouth town centre. He added: “The town and the borough have a lot going for it at the moment. “That’s why we are putting forward a plan much further ahead than normal.”

In North Dorset, the number of claimants fell from 481 to 245, representing a 49.1 per cent drop.

North Dorset MP Robert Walter said he was heartened by the fall in unemployment.