Unemployment in Bedford has dropped by almost a quarter in the last year thanks to businesses setting up shop in the town and festive recruitment.
Figures released today (Wednesday) show that there are now 695 less people searching for work when compared to September last year.
The biggest decline is among young people aged 18 to 24.
Bedford Job Centre Plus manager Maggy King says this is down to work experience placements leading on to jobs, along with training and apprenticeship opportunities.
Unemployed young people in the town has plummeted by almost 47 per cent over the last 12 months.
Customer services operations manager Mrs King: “The future picture is looking very good.
“There is a lot of interest in Bedford for training and apprenticeships. We also encourage that age group to do work experience and that has proved very successful.
“We have an 82 per cent job outcome through work experience placements. It is an excellent way for people to get into work and every few months we hold a work experience opportunities pop up event, so that they can try and get that foot in the door and that can make all the difference.”
She explained that this year the job centre has seen an increase in the numbers of people being recruited for seasonal work.
“Bedford is very, very buoyant at the moment with employers and we have really noticed it this year with Christmas recruitment,” she said. “There is an awful lot of seasonal recruitment going on.
“We find that if people do well often they are kept on even if it’s part-time.”
In the last year, unemployment amongst 25 to 49 year old’s living in Bedford dropped by almost 24 per cent.
Mrs King said: “There is a lot of confidence in Bedford with new businesses coming in.”
She said employment success rates have been boosted by the support that the job centre in Bromham Road offers including 19 computers on offer for online applications and unlimited access to free wifi.
“We do have staff there that can help them if they have problems,” she said.