By Ian Dipple 26/06 Updated: 26/06 12:45
THE NUMBER of people out of work for more than 12 months has risen to its highest level for two years despite an overall drop in unemployment.
More than 70 people found work in Redditch during May taking the number claiming Jobseeker's Allowance to 1,956 - the first time it has dropped below the 2,000 mark since November 2010.
There was also further good news as youth unemployment fell slightly as well, however the number of job vacancies available at Redditch Job Centre fell by more than 500 to 726.
But in what has been dubbed the 'hidden crisis' of the economic recovery the number of people out of work long-term increased to 420 in May, the highest it has been since May 2010.
Tony Dolphin, chief economist at the Institute for Public Policy Research, said government policy was failing to keep pace with joblessness.
"While the ‘Youth Contract’ is designed to help young people out of work for more than a year, the ‘Work Programme’ has only been able to secure employment for about a third of jobseekers on the programme. As a general rule, the longer someone is unemployed, the less likely they are to ever return to work.
"Being out of work for more than a year can have a scarring effect, making it harder to get a job as well as having a negative impact on one’s health and well-being.
"This means even when employment starts to pick up again, the long-term unemployed will find it hard to compete with other jobseekers and could find themselves permanently shut out of the jobs market."
But Redditch MP Karen Lumley said it was too early to say the Government's policy was failing.
"The two work programme providers I have spoken to in Redditch are working hard to help people in this situation, building relationships with local companies, but that takes some time. Over the next few months I hope we will see a significant drop in long-term unemployment," she said.
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