Devon’s Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA) fell by 101 claimants between August and September 2016 - the total claimant count now standing at 2,848 – a new historic low.

Seven of Devon’s eight districts either experienced falls in JSA or remained unchanged over the period. Teignbridge rose by five claimants, with Exeter experiencing the greatest fall of 37 claimants.

The claimant rate - the proportion of the county’s working age population claiming JSA - fell by 0.1 per cent in Exeter, South Hams and Torridge, while the remaining districts experienced no change.

The district with the highest claimant rate was Torridge, at 0.8 per cent.

Even so, it remained far below the UK average of 1.3 per cent for the period.

Youth claimant numbers across Devon - claimants aged 24 and under - fell by 50 claimants between August and September 2016. Devon’s average youth claimant count rate fell by 1.2 per cent to 13 per cent, remaining below the national average of 13.9 per cent for the period.

At a district level, all Devon’s districts with the exception of West Devon either experienced falls in youth claimants or remained unchanged from August.

Exeter experienced the largest fall of 15 youth claimants, closely followed by North Devon, Teignbridge and Torridge at 10 claimants each - West Devon increasing by just 5 claimants.

Devon County Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, cabinet member for Economy and Growth, said: “It is fantastic to see JSA claimants continue to fall, even in this period of economic uncertainty.

"We continue to work closely with local businesses, educational institutions and the Local Enterprise Partnership to support schemes which aim to reduce unemployment and strengthen the Devon economy.

"The second round of our Community Impact Support Scheme is providing grants to community projects supporting adjustment to welfare reforms.

"We are also funding new additions to our network of Work Hubs, providing a range of much needed workspace for start-ups and small businesses.

"This is in addition to our network of innovation centres and provision of a range of support to businesses across Devon.”