Cumbria has seen a second consecutive rise in unemployment – with Carlisle yet again taking the brunt.

Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics found that 6,545 people claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance or received support through Universal Credit to seek work in August – a rise of 50 compared to revised figures for July.

Carlisle saw the biggest rise, with 40 new claims made during the month – taking the total figure of people seeking work to 1,570.

It means that 2.4 per cent of the district’s working age population is classed as seeking work, having seen a rise in 60 new claims during July.

Barrow also recorded a rise, with 25 new claims made, taking the total to 1,210 (three per cent) while Eden saw 20 new claims, taking the total to 410 but representing (1.3 per cent).

While Copeland saw a slight rise of five, with a total of 1,250 claims (three per cent), Allerdale and South Lakeland both saw falls.

A total of 25 fewer claims were made in Allerdale (total 1,590 and 2.8 per cent), South Lakeland recorded a fall of 15 claims (total 520 claims and 0.9 per cent).

The latest figures see both Barrow and Copeland above and Allerdale bang on the national average of 2.8 per cent.

Cumbria as a whole remains below at 2.2 per cent.

The two 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, the Department of Work and Pensions partnership manager West Cumbria and Barrow, said the JobCentre offices across the county were working hard to help people find employment.

She said: "The emphasis for Universal Credit is about finding work and it doesn't matter how many hours you do, you will not be penalised by going over a limit.

"We have worked with a number of employers to secure a guaranteed interview for JobCentre claimants. These have included Barrow's new Holiday Inn – where we had 25 guaranteed interviews – Brewers Fayre, Smurfit, and shortly with Zoom, Momentum Recruitment and Cavanagh & Gray.

"We work with the employers to to give a tailored service and helps give people, who may not have had an interview for a long time, an extra lift."

The JobCentre has also introduced a new scheme called Mentoring Circles to help 18 to 24-year-olds in Allerdale and Copeland.

Working with private firm Responsive, it introduces the young people to employers, who talk about their career journey, and aims to inspire and motivate the participants.

The initial scheme, held in Whitehaven, was attended by seven people. Two have found work and four have interviews lined up.

It is hoped the scheme will be rolled out across the county for other age groups.

Nationally unemployment fell again, while the employment rate was the joint-highest since comparable records began in 1971.

An estimated 32.78 million people are in work, according to ONS figures, representing just over three quarters of the working age population (76.1 per cent).

Wages also grew.

The Office of National Statistics head of labour market statistics David Freeman said: “The employment rate has remained fairly constant at a joint record high for some months now, while the unemployment rate was last lower at the end of 1974.

“Vacancies continue to fall back from recent record highs, with much of this decline coming from small businesses.”

“Including bonuses, wages are now growing at four per cent a year in cash terms, for the first time since 2008. Once adjusted for inflation, they have now gone above two per cent for the first time in nearly four years.”