Figures have been dropping year on year but rose by one per cent from October to November.

UNEMPLOYMENT figures across Devon have risen slightly for the first time since February, Devon County Council has confirmed.

Year-on-year, the number of people claiming Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) has fallen by 28.5 per cent, but last month there was a one per cent rise in the figures.

In October, 6,513 people across the county were claiming JSA, compared with 6,579 this month – an increase of 66 people.

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, county council cabinet member for economy and growth, said there were particular increases in North Devon and Torridge.

He said: “While it is disappointing to hear of an increase in unemployment, it is not altogether unexpected to see a rise at this time of the year and is very often down to the effects of summer seasonal employment which generally comes to an end by the final weeks of October.

“The particular rises in unemployment in North Devon and Torridge make it clear that there is a strong case for the granting of Assisted Area status to northern Devon.

“Devon County Council has been working very closely with the Heart of the South West LEP and MPs to make this case.”

But over a 12-month period, North Devon has seen the number of people claiming JSA fall by 334 claimants.

Councillor Malcolm Prowse, executive member for economic regeneration, said: “The latest figures show that our local economy is reasonably resilient.

“Obviously, North Devon tends to have a higher claimant count in the winter months, as a lot of employment here is seasonal.

“However, it is reassuring to see that our number is remaining fairly stable and is in fact much lower compared to last November.”

The claimant count in Devon - 1.5 per cent of the working population – is half the national figure of three per cent.