THE number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance in Wirral has fallen again as figures show employment is at its highest level nationally.

Official figures from the Office for National Statistics out today show 5,899 local people claimed the benefit in May - a drop of 199 on the previous month's 6,098.

Nationally, the number of people in work is 30.54 million, after a rise which was the highest since records began in 1971.

It means 780,000 jobs have been added since a year earlier, the biggest annual rise since 1989.

Unemployment fell by 161,000 to 2.16 million, with the jobless rate dropping to 6.6%.

Much of the jump in the headline employment number was caused by a rise in self-employment, which rose by 337,000 to reach 4.54 million Other data from the ONS showed jobseeker's allowance claimants fell by 27,400 in May to 1.09 million.

The number of economically inactive people fell by 80,000 in the last quarter to 8.82 million.

The number of those out of work for more tan a year was down by 37,000 to 791,000, with unemployment among 16 to 24-year-olds also falling.

Wirral West MP and Minister for Employment, Esther McVey said: "As we build a stronger economy, businesses up and down the country are feeling increasingly confident about creating jobs, meaning many thousands more people are in work every day - ensuring a better future for them, their families, and for the country as a whole."

Wirral South MP Alison McGovern said: "Statistics show unemployment has fallen again which is welcome.

"But youth unemployment, zero-hour contracts and the financial problems people face are all still cause for concern in our economy.

"I know, from talking to people in my constituency regularly that young people are struggling to find work.

"The recent Queen's speech showed that the government do not see the difficulties my constituents face as a priority.

"I want a Labour government because we could then take action that would help."