UNEMPLOYMENT in South Elmsall and South Kirkby has fallen for the first time in six months.
Recent figures from Wakefield Council show that the amount of people claiming Jobseekers Allowance fell month-on-month by 6.7 per cent in South Kirkby and by 4.2 per cent in South Elmsall.
Unemployment in the Hemsworth ward dropped by 2.2 per cent, for the first time in five months.
The figures are for April - the most recent statistics available - and are based on ward boundaries in 2003.
The figures are above the national average, with a drop of just 0.4 per cent across the UK.
However, the figures also show that youth unemployment remains high.
In Hemsworth, 40.1 per cent of all claimants are aged 16-24, the highest in the Wakefield district.
Youth unemployment stands at 36.2 per cent in South Elmsall and in South Kirkby it is 37.8 per cent, well above the national average of 28.6 per cent.
Long term unemployment - those who have been out of work for more than a year - stands at 9.8 per cent of all claimants in Hemsworth, 11.5 per cent in South Elmsall and 7.8 per cent in South Kirkby.
Local residents told the Express they were still struggling to find work.
Leon Patrick said: “I have been unemployed for nearly two years. I worked in a restaurant environment for seven years and worked at Tesco for three-months last Christmas.
“I have been sending out CVs all over Wakefield district and online. The only thing is that employers never get back in touch. It’s just really hard at the moment.”
Ali Cowell, from South Elmsall, said: “My 17-year-old son has spent two years at college training to be a mechanic. We have rang every dealership in a 25-mile radius - every back street garage, every agency, and still no work for him.
“It’s got to the point where he is willing to take any job that’s on offer and guess what? Still no joy.”
Hemsworth MP Jon Trickett said: “The figures make interesting reading. It would be worth drilling a little deeper in to these statistics and find out if people have actually moved into work or have just moved off benefit for one reason or another.
“From talking to constituents week in, week out, it is quite clear it is still very tough out there and many people are still looking for work.
“ Young people are finding it hard particularly as the funding has been pulled on many of the back to work training schemes introduced by Labour.”
Coun Denise Jeffery, Wakefield Council’s deputy leader, said: “A fall in unemployment is encouraging news. However, youth unemployment remains a serious local issue, especially in the Hemsworth ward.
“Wakefield Enterprise Partnership will be stepping up its efforts to bring new jobs into the district and the wider city region. New opportunities are being created with the regeneration of Wakefield City and progress in the Five Towns, along with the boost to housing market renewal by the successful Regional Growth Fund bid for the south east of the district.
“The aim of the council is to further diversify the local economy to bring in a greater range of job opportunities locally and in the city region.”