Cumbria has seen a slight rise in unemployment – with Carlisle taking the brunt for third month running.

Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics found that 6,520 people claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance or received support through Universal Credit to seek work in September – a rise of 30 compared to revised figures for August.

Carlisle, again, saw 40 new claims made – taking the total figure of people seeking work to 1,595 and representing 2.4 per cent of the district’s working age population.

It means the city has seen 160 new claims in the past three months – during which time the figure for the county as a whole has continued to rise.

South Lakeland recorded the second biggest rise for the month, with 20 new claims made, but representing just 0.9 per cent of its working age population.

Barrow and Eden also saw small rises of 15, taking the totals to 1,220 (3 per cent) and 425 (1.4 per cent) respectively.

Allerdale saw a sizeable drop, with 45 few claims made, making a total of 1,525 (2.6 per cent).

Neighbouring Copeland saw 15 fewer claims, taking the total to 1,225.

And with 2.9 per cent of the area’s working age population seeking a job stands it puts Copeland, along with Barrow, above the national average of 2.8 per cent.

Cumbria as a whole remains below at 2.2 per cent.

The three consecutive months of rises follow an unchanged picture in June, which saw stability following several months of rises during late 2018 and the first half of 2019.

The increase in unemployment has coincided with the introduction of the controversial Universal Credit system across the county, which was completed in December 2018. The full rollout is expected to take another three or so years.

Julie Routledge, partnership manager for West Cumbria and Barrow at JobCentre Plus, said however that there was lots of activity across Cumbria in the run-up to Christmas.

Firms including Zoom at Lillyhall, Oak Smoked in Maryport and Wax Lyrical in the south of the county were advertising for staff.

JobCentre staff are also working with employers to offer claimants guaranteed interviews and work experience to help jobseekers enter the world of work.

They are also supporting Thomas Cook staff who have been made redundant and workers at Stead McAlpin in Carlisle.

Nationally, unemployment rose slightly in the quarter between June and August to 3.9 per cent following a long-running record low, according to ONS figures.

The employment rate also dipped to 75.9 per cent for the same period.

The deputy head of labour market statistics at the ONS, Matt Hughes, said: “The employment rate is still rising year-on-year, but this growth has cooled noticeably in recent months.

“Among the under-25s, the employment rate has actually started to fall on the year.

“Pay growth continues to outstrip inflation, as it has done for over eighteen months now.”