‘Positive’ unemployment stats could fall further after a Jobs Fair on September 30

The number of people out of work and claiming benefits in Barnstaple and Bideford has stayed on a similar level for August.

The Job Centre reported 470 claimants in Barnstaple, five more than July and 415 in Bideford, down from 425.

Both North Devon and Torridge Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) claimants fell in August, adding to a record low across Devon of 2,949.

Judith Hill, work coach at the Job Centre, said they were proud of the youth unemployment figures, which showed just 96 out of work in Barnstaple, compared with 103 last year and 133 the year before.

"If we can start them off right, then we hope never to see them again - in the nicest possible way," she said.

"It's very positive, but we are not resting on our laurels and although the figures are encouraging, zero is our aim."

The Job Centre is hosting a Jobs Fair at Green Lanes Shopping Centre in Barnstaple on Friday, September 30, with prospective employers and Job Centre staff on hand, as well as opportunities for temporary employment and work experience.