THE NUMBER of people claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance (JSA) in Burnley fell by more than 700 last year — despite a rise in unemployment.

Statistics published in a new report on the economy by Burnley Council show 2,052 residents received the monthly benefit in December 2013, down from 2,732 last January.

This was despite the number of working-age unemployed people increasing from 3,600 in September 2012 to 3,700 in September 2013.

The report, set to be discussed by councillors on the economic regeneration scrutiny committee tomorrow night, also highlighted that the average gross weekly wage for residents of the borough — £473.30 — was below the North West average (£483.20) and the national average (£518.10).

However, the average gross weekly salary paid by workplaces based in Burnley was lower, at £433.60.

Ryan Gifford, the report’s author, noted: “That weekly gross pay in Burnley is higher for residents than workplace wages suggests that Burnley residents are benefitting from commuting out of the borough to areas where workplace pay is higher.”

Explaining the unemployment figures, Mr Gifford, a regeneration officer, said: “Not all the unemployed people over the age of 16 claim Jobseekers’ Allowance.

“Some may be on incapacity or other benefits or some may be single parents who chose not to work.”