YET another fall in the number of people claiming unemployment benefits has been hailed as a sign that the economy is improving for East Staffordshire and South Derbyshire.
The amount of people receiving jobseeker's allowance (JSA) in the two areas dropped by around 60 in June, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics, with each area well below both the national and regional averages.
The news, released yesterday, has been welcomed by politicians for the neighbouring districts.
Andrew Griffiths, MP for Burton, told the Mail it was 'fantastic news' that there were now 1,333 people claiming unemployment benefit in East Staffordshire.
"It shows the strength of the economy locally and demonstrates that the long-term economic plan of the Government is working.
"We have seen unemployment fall by more than 600 since this time last year.
"There is still more to do, but more people are in work and having the stability and security of a job," he added.
The figures relate to 1.6 per cent of people living in the borough. Included in that number are 200 people who have been out of work for a year or more.
In South Derbyshire, the amount of JSA claimants has dropped to 800 – 67 fewer than the month before and 1.3 per cent of the population.
MP Heather Wheeler said she was 'delighted' by the drop, adding: "It means more families have got a wage coming in. It will mean a lot for these families that they no longer have to rely on the state.
"One must never be complacent about these things, as something could come and blow us off course, but things are going well and I think it's because the building blocks are there.
"The council supports business and I, as the MP, support business. We are doing everything we can to support growth."
A total of 165 of those people have been unemployed for 12 months or more.
Nationally, the amount of people claiming the benefit has fallen to its lowest level in almost six years.
Chris Plant, chairman of the Burton and District Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the latest employment figures.
He said: "These impressive employment figures highlight the resilience and flexibility of the UK labour market."
Despite his optimism, he raised concerns over the small amount of growth in wages during the same period.