MORE than 5,000 jobseekers in St Helens claimed out of work benefits last month.
In total, 5,179 people claimed jobseekers allowance (JSA) in St Helens in May, 3,575 men and 1,604 women.
The number of JSA claimants per working age population – 4.5 per cent – was higher than both the regional (4.2 per cent) and national (3.8 per cent) averages.
Encouraging figures published by the Office for National Statistics revealed a rise in employment levels and a fall in overall unemployment across the UK.
However, in the North West, employment fell by 29,000 in the last quarter and the number of JSA claimants rose by 3,100 across the region.
Nationally, the number of unemployed 16-24-year-olds who are not in full time education fell by 71,000.
Government ministers say that, while the national figures were promising, they were cautious about the monthly rise in the number of JSA claimants.
Employment minister Chris Grayling said: “It’s good news that employment is going in the right direction with half a million more people in private sector jobs compared to this time last year. The fall in the number of unemployed young people also means that the total is now lower than it was before the general election.
“However, we still face a challenge to help more of the long term unemployed into work.”