Statistics released by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) show that 4,266 adults were listed last month as being in receipt of benefits while searching for work.
It is a 24 per cent rise - or 823 people - on the same period last year.
The figures are based on the number of claimants receiving Universal Credit, which was introduced in Peterborough in November 2017. Universal Credit replaces six means tested benefits, including Jobseeker’s Allowance.
The new 'searching for work' figure is known as the Alternative Claimant Count. Those included are not necessarily unemployed. For instance, some maybe in part-time work and looking for a second job, or different work.
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A DWP spokesman said: “The new figure is a better indication to an employer or firms looking to move into the area about the size of the available workforce.”
The figures show 717 people aged 18 to 24 years are searching for work - up 188 - on the same time last year.
Many firms in Peterborough are looking to recruit staff.
Eighteen firms are expected to take part in the Recruit 19 jobs fair at Peterborough Town Hall on March 7.