The number of people claiming benefits in the Westcountry has risen, according to new figures.
The total number of people claiming Job Seekers’ Allowance in Devon increased from 9,273 in December to 9,818 in January. In Cornwall, meanwhile, the claimant count rose from 9,955 to 10,609 last month.
Despite this, the unemployment levels in the South West fell in the final three months of last year, according to the same figures.
Some 6,000 fewer people were unemployed in the final quarter from October to December of 2012 than in the third quarter, according to the Office for National Statistics.
A total of 150,000 people were unemployed in the region between October and December of last year, meaning it had an unemployment rate of 5.5%.
Nationwide, the employment rate showed almost 30 million people were in work at the end of 2012 – an increase of 154,000 on the quarter to September, and the highest total since records began in 1971.
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said: “The fall in long-term unemployment is particularly welcome.”
But Paul Kenny, general secretary of the GMB union, said: “That we have mass unemployment of two and a half million five years into this recession is waste on a grand scale.”