THE number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance in Wirral has fallen by more than 600 as new figures show unemployment is at lowest rate for six years.

Official data from the Office for National Statistics out today show 5,212 local people claimed the benefit in June - a drop of 687 on the previous month's 5,899.

Nationally, the number of people claiming is on course to dip below a million for the first time in six years. The figures show 30.6m are now in work.

The study shows the jobless total was 2.08m in the quarter to June, down by 132,000 on January to March, and the lowest since the end of 2009, giving an unemployment rate of 6.4%.

The claimant count fell for the 21st month in a row in June, by 33,600 to 1.01m.

Analysts predict that if the trend continues, the number of JSA claimants will fall below a million next month for the first time since September 2008.

The number of self-employed people has reached a record 4.5m.

The number of unemployed 16-to-24 year olds fell by 102,000 over the quarter to 767,000, more than 200,000 lower than a year ago, the biggest fall since records began in 1992.

Long-term unemployment also fell, with the number out of work for over a year down by 75,000 to 738,000.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said: "In the past, many people in our society were written off and trapped in unemployment and welfare dependency.

“But through our welfare reforms, we are helping people to break that cycle and get back into work.

"The Government's long-term economic plan to build a stronger economy and a fairer society is working - with employment going up, record drops in youth unemployment and hundreds of thousands of people replacing their signing-on book with a wage packet.”

Wirral South MP Alison McGovern said: "More people entering the work place is positive news. However, we have wider economic problems.

"Unfortunately, these days, just because a person is in work does not necessarily mean that their circumstances are optimistic.

"The news on wages today shows how much further we have to go until this is a recovery everyone feels part of.

"Plus, people in zero hour contracts, just for example, are in insecure employment and constituents have told me how this makes them feel.

"That is why Labour will end the exploitation associated with such contracts. People need to feel an economic recovery in their pockets."

Wirral Conservative group leader, Cllr Jeff Green said: "This is great news for Wirral; another increase in Wirral’s employment levels and a further 687 residents and families receiving pay packets each week which clearly demonstrates that the economic recovery is well underway and spreading out across the whole country.

"It is a shame that for their own party political interests the Labour Party still refuses to recognise this fact.

"It's time for our local Labour politicians to stop peddling their doom and gloom rhetoric and publically acknowledge that the Government’s economic plan is working."