THE number of jobless Worcester residents continues to fall.

Figures released this morning by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show 1,517 people in the city were claiming Jobseekers' Allowance in May - the lowest figure since October 2008.

The number has dropped by 141 in the space of one month, continuing a trend which has seen the claimant numbers fall each month since February.

"We're seeing a continuation of strong temporary figures which is a good sign," said Ben Mannion, of Hewett Recruitment in Foregate Street, Worcester.

"Permanent placements are also strong; we've seen record figures for April and May, while June is already looking good. So it's really positive news.

"The industries that have seen a lot of growth in this area continue to be IT and engineering."

The latest figure means just 2.3 per cent of Worcester's working age population are claiming the government benefit, below both the West Midlands average of 3.3 per cent and the national average of 2.6 per cent.

Of the Worcester figure, 1,022 are men, and 495 women.

Worcester MP Robin Walker said he was delighted by the figures.

"I welcome the figures and I’m pleased to see a continued fall in unemployment for Worcester, with positive momentum continuing," he said.

"The fact that more than two million new jobs have been created in the private sector, the majority of which are full time and in small and medium-sized businesses reflects a truly sustained recovery in employment.

"I am thrilled that Worcester appears to be at the forefront of this but we need to keep up the pressure."

Nationally, the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance last month fell by 27,400 to 1.09 million.

Across the West Midlands, business leaders say they are buoyed by the news.

“The downward trend in unemployment is good news for the region and there is a lot of positive news coming from our members," said Tim Pile, president of Birmingham Chamber of Commerce.

“The chamber is actively working to encourage firms to invest in upskilling existing staff as well as hiring new (staff)."