The number of people classed as unemployed in Cumbria rose by 90 in October, according to latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.

A total of 6,555 people claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance or received support through Universal Credit to seek work – a sizeable increase compared to the revised figure of 6,465 for September.

It is the fourth month in a row unemployment has risen, although the county remains below the national average of 2.9 per cent, at 2.2 per cent.

South Lakeland saw the biggest rise, with 45 new claims made. However, the total figure remains relatively low at 570, representing just one per cent of the district’s working age population.

The number of claims in Barrow increased by 25, taking the total to 1,235 and representing three per cent of the working age population.

Allerdale has a total of 1,535 residents classed as unemployed following a rise of 15 (2.7 per cent), while Eden recorded a small increase of five, taking the total to 420 (1.4 per cent).

Meanwhile, the picture remained unchanged in both Carlisle and Copeland, where, respectively, 1,585 (2.4 per cent) and 1,210 (2.9 per cent) people are recorded as seeking work.

The status quo in Carlisle will be a relief after the district bore the brunt of Cumbria’s unemployment rises in the past three months.

It still remains below the national average, with Copeland the only Cumbrian district lying above it.

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.

Nationally, unemployment fell by 23,000 to 1.31 million in the three months to September, according to the ONS figures.

The number of people in work also fell, by 58,000 to 32,75m during the same period – the biggest drop since May 2015.

The drop was due to the falling number of people working in the retail sector, which has been hit hard by the collapse of several store chains, said the ONS.

And UK wage growth also slowed to 3.6 per cent, down from 3.8 per cent in the previous month.

An ONS spokesperson said: “The employment rate is higher than a year ago, though broadly unchanged in recent months. Vacancies have seen their biggest annual fall since late 2009, but remain high by historical standards.”