AROUND 4,400 people in the town have gained full-time employment in the last year.

As the country's economic growth picked up pace in the third quarter of the year, there are also positive signs of improvement in our town.

Martin Beasley is the programme manager for Enterprising Barnsley, which helps businesses develop and expand, generating economic growth and creating new jobs.

He said data from the Office of National Statistics show from June 2012 to July 2013 there had been positive growth in employment in the borough.

The annual increase recorded in the number of Barnsley residents in full-time employment had risen by 6.2 per cent - which is about 4,400 people.

The figure is greater than increases recorded at both regional and national level.

Martin said: "In terms of new business, that's only showing an increase of 0.1 per cent, but it's going up and in the right direction."

He said since April 2012, Enterprising Barnsley has created 431 new jobs, which is 78 per cent of the target set by the Department for Communities and Local Government and the European Commission.

Martin added: "We have until June 2015 to achieve our targets so we're aiming to exceed the target comfortably."

Barnsley is also bucking the trend when it comes to average weekly earnings.

Martin said: "The gap to both national and regional average weekly earning levels appears to be narrowing.

"Between June 2012 and July 2013 the average weekly earning levels have increased by 4.7 per cent which is greater than the increase recorded at a regional (0.9 per cent) and a national (1.6 per cent) level."