THE number of people claiming Jobseekers Allowance in Mid Devon has plummeted by 36% in the last 12 months, labour market statistics have revealed.

In July 2013, 752 people in the region were claiming Jobseekers allowance in the region - but fast forward 12 months and that figure has tumbled to 480, a fall of 272.

The statistics also show that Jobseekers claimants in Mid Devon make up just 1% of the region's working age population - one of the lowest in the county - in comparison, Exeter heads the bill with 0.8%.

Youth unemployment has seen the largest annual fall since records began 30 years ago - alongside the steepest annual fall in unemployment in a quarter of a century, figures published today by the Office for National Statistics show.

In Mid Devon, the number of people aged 18-24 claiming jobseekers allowance has dropped from 210 in July 2013, to just 110 12 months later - a fall of just over 47%.

Caroline Webster, Jobcentre District Business Manager for Devon and Cornwall said: “Jobcentres report that job vacancies are increasing across a variety of sectors from retail to construction.

“With the labour market becoming more buoyant, most people will be able to find themselves a job which means that Jobcentres can spend more time helping people who may have additional barriers to overcome or need more help to be able to compete for jobs.

“Jobcentre Plus also has a local programmes budget - the Flexible Support Fund that enables us to work with local partners, employers and communities to meet specific local needs - either for individual jobseekers or groups of customers.”

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith said: “In the past, many people in our society were written off and trapped in unemployment and welfare dependency. But through our welfare reforms, we are helping people to break that cycle and get back into work.

“The government's long-term economic plan to build a stronger economy and a fairer society is working - with employment going up, record drops in youth unemployment and hundreds of thousands of people replacing their signing-on book with a wage packet.

“The best way to help even more people into work is to go on delivering a plan that's creating growth and jobs.”

Nationally, youth unemployment has fallen by 206,000 over the past year, which is the largest drop since records began in 1984, bringing it to the lowest level for nearly 6 years.

The youth unemployment rate is down 4.5 percentage compared to a year ago.

Unemployment fell by 437,000 over the past year - and 132,000 in only the past 3 months - which is the biggest annual fall in 25 years.