The number of Dundonians signing on for out-of-work benefits in the last 12 months has risen by almost 1,000.
Statistics show 995 more people are claiming either Universal Credit or “old-style” Jobseeker’s Allowance than this time last year.
A total of 4,350 people, representing 4.6% of the working-age population, are claiming – up from 3,355.
The figures represent the continuation of a trend which has seen claimant counts rise almost monthly since November, from a low of 3.1% that month.
However, in the long term, the number of people signing on has fallen by 10% since the last significant change of Westminster government in 2010.
Jane McEwen, work coach team leader at Dundee’s Jobcentre Plus, said this was down to changes in how benefit figures are recorded.
“Full service” Universal Credit rolled out in Dundee last November, replacing six “old-style” benefits such as Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA).
Families of up to two adults and two children are now processed on the new system and count towards the total number of claimants.
This applies even if they aren’t claiming JSA but are looking for work while claiming payments such as housing benefit or tax credits, which now fall under Universal Credit.
Jane said: “We issue comparison figures for each year but there’s a caveat with those because we went full service in November. We think that accounts for much of the increase.
“It will likely only be in December, or even January next year, that we can start comparing like-for-like.”
Local Jobcentres have made efforts to team up with local employers to offer opportunities to those searching for work.
Recently, Tayside branches have been working with ABP Food Group in Perth, 2 Sisters Food Group in Coupar Angus and are making inroads with the Scottish Government to recruit for Dundee’s new Social Security Agency.
In addition, Jobcentre Plus staff are laid on at the Central Library to help people with “soft skills” such as IT literacy, writing a CV and attending interviews.
Jane conceded that Universal Credit, which is self-managed online, had presented issues for those not IT literate.
“For those that struggle with this, we will try to help them,” she said.
UK employment is at a record high of 75.7%, according to the DWP.