THE number of jobseekers in Worcester has fallen for the first time since last year.

Figures released today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show 1,803 people were claiming Jobseekers' Allowance in March.

It means 2.7 per cent of the city's working age population is claiming the benefit, which is still below both the West Midlands figure (3.6 per cent) and the national figure (2.9 per cent).

The figures are the first time numbers have dropped since last November when there were 1,692 people claiming JA.

"We are seeing the number of temporary positions remaining strong, particularly in the industrial and manufacturing sector, which is good," said Ben Mannion, strategic development director at Hewett Recruitment on Foregate Street, Worcester.

"From a permanent point of view I think it's our strongest period for about six months.

"Since January we've seen a big upturn in both temporary and permanent requirements.

"I think this shows there is more all-round confidence in the market place and this recovery seems to be sustained and sustainable."

Nationally, the number of people out of work in the UK has fallen by 77,000 to a five-year low of 2.24 million.

The unemployment rate now stands at 6.9 per cent of the adult working population.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said: "These figures are some of the strongest evidence yet that we are embedding the recovery.

"We have record numbers in work and unemployment falling at the fastest rate in over a decade."