THE number of young people not in education, work or training has plunged nearly 40 per cent since 2012, it has emerged.

New figures from Worcestershire County Council reveal how the slow but upward economic recovery is helping more 16 to 25-year-olds find a purpose.

In December, the last time the figures were calculated, 523 people were classed as NEETS in the county - those not in education, employment or training.

Exactly one year before that date it was784 and in December 2011 it was 859, when the economy was in turmoil, meaning it has fallen 39 per cent in two years.

The number of young claimants in Redditch fell by 385 on the previous year.

The number of unemployed claimants in the Redditch constituency in January 2014 was 1,569, 3.3 per cent of the economically active population - 393 or 20 per cent lower than in January 2013.

There has also been an annual fall of 18 per cent on JSA claims of over 12 months – greater than the national average of 14.6 per cent.

Speaking about the recent figures Redditch MP Karen Lumley said: “It’s good news that unemployment is down again and there are more jobs being created.

"I was particularly pleased to learn that there were 89,000 more job vacancies between November to January 2013. This shows that confidence is returning to the economy. Every one of these new jobs means another family having the security of a regular pay packet.

"There is much more to do but if the Government sticks to its plan we can secure a better future for hardworking people in Redditch.”

County councillor Simon Geraghty, deputy leader and the cabinet member for economy, skills and infrastructure said: "The number of NEETS are recorded on a monthly basis and should only be taken as a snap shot in time, but if you take December's figures, the last month for which they are available, it does show they have come down recently."

The county council is exploring the possibility of setting up employment hubs in Worcestershire, located at strategic sites, to supplement what is already on offer in traditional job centres.

It would alert young people to new training and job opportunities, as well as offer extra advice.

It also plans to boost traineeships at County Hall and continue to invest in its talent match scheme, which matches young people up with good employers.