ALNWICK area still has the highest unemployment rate in Northumberland, with 18.4 per cent of the population out of work.
Alnwick travel-to-work area also has the greatest proportion of women looking for work, at 16.9 per cent.
This is against a gloomy picture in Northumberland as a whole, where unemployment is rising faster than the regional average.
Between November and February the number on the county register increased from 15,730 (15.8 per cent) to 16,659 (16.8 per cent).
Excluding Government schemes, almost one person in five is out of work. When Youth Training and Community Programme workers are included, the county total reaches 19,990 – equivalent to a rate of 19.6 per cent.
The extent of the crisis was spelled out to the county council’s Employment Sub-Committee on Tuesday by the vice-chairman Coun Bill Landles. “Beneath these statistics lie tremendous anxiety and anguish all the time. We are talking about every stratum of the community, right from top-level graduates down to the kids leaving school at 16.”
The Chancellor’s £485million measures to boost jobs over two years were dismissed as peanuts by Coun Mrs B M Stanton.