FOR the twelfth consecutive month the number of unemployed adults in Herefordshire has fallen.

Just 630 working age residents across the county are currently receiving Jobseeker's Allowance - the lowest in more than 20 years.

And despite the New Year being a traditionally slow time for the jobs market the trend looks set to continue as one county-based Jobcentre boss says companies have approached them saying they want to take people on.

"We continue in our downward progression and it's a really encouraging start to the year. The figures are the lowest they have been for decades," said Duncan Campbell from Jobcentre Plus.

"Female employment has also risen to a record high and we continue to see a low number of 18-24-year-old's out of work.

"This is normally a quiet time of the year. A number of people would have gone to part-time work over Christmas. Some of them will stay on while others will come back to us.

"But what is encouraging is that we are getting a lot of calls from companies saying they want to take people on."

The jobs boom is being felt across many sectors - although Mr Campbell said the hospitality sector has been a "bit flat" - with full-time employment growing at a faster rate than part-time.

However, he sounded a word of warning in light of last week's announcement that more than 1,000 steelworkers workers at Tata Steel in Port Talbot are set to lose their jobs.

"Although this isn't in Herefordshire, we don't yet know how companies up and downstream of that supply chain might be affected," he said. "That's something we will not know for a while yet."

The latest figure of 630, released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), means just 0.6 per cent of the county's working age population is out of work, lower than the national average of 1.5 per cent and the West Midlands average of 1.8 per cent.

At the height of the economic crisis in February 2010, Herefordshire had 3,124 claimants.

Nationally, unemployment has fallen to its lowest rate in more than a decade.