Belfast sees UK's biggest rise in jobseekers
The port cities of Belfast, Hull and Glasgow have seen the biggest surge in people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance.
A study by Centre for Cities showed rises of 2.7% in Belfast, 2.6% in Hull and 2.2% in Glasgow in the JSA rate since February 2008, when the labour market was at its peak.
The three cities now have respective JSA jobless rates of 4.9%, 7.1% and 5.1%, with total claimants of 20,880, 12,650 and 35,770 respectively.
Areas with large numbers of public sector workers have also seen a big increase in the number of JSA claimants, even before the expected loss of tens of thousands of jobs in the coming months as a result of cuts in public spending.
Alexandra Jones, chief executive of the Centre for Cities, said: "The jump in public sector job losses found within the latest unemployment data has been well documented, and more redundancies are expected in January.
"Many of the cities that are most reliant on the public sector for jobs, such as Middlesbrough and Barnsley, are also the cities that have seen the highest jump in residents claiming Jobseeker's Allowance during the downturn.
"Public service lay-offs over the next few months are likely to have an enormous impact on local economies. Giving local authorities the powers to deal with the fall-out will be crucial."
Cities with the lowest increase in the JSA rate were Cambridge (0.5%), Preston, (0.8%), Southampton (0.8%) and Birkenhead, Brighton, Portsmouth, York and Norwich (all 1%).
The biggest percentage increases in the number of 16 to 24-year-olds claiming JSA since February 2008 were in Belfast (up 3.4% to 6.7%), Barnsley (up 3.1% to 8%) and Rochdale (up 2.9% to 7.8%), said the research group.