Fifth consecutive drop in unemployment figures

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THE number of Wigan people in work has risen by more than 1,100 in the last six months.

Latest figures show that those claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance fell by another 282 in July - the fifth consecutive drop.

The year had started badly with a leap in claimaints by 423 after Christmas, but February saw a steadying of the ship and there has subsequently been a shortening of the dole queues by three-figure sums each month since. As of July 31 there were 8,649 unemployment benefit claimaints in the borough, compared to 9,810 in January.

Younger adults still make up around a third of all people out of work, but those figures too have declined gradually over the first half of 2013. In July the number of borough JSA claimants aged under 25 fell by 105 to 2,440 - this despite a slight rise in younger clamaints across the rest of Greater Manchester. The overall JSA claimaint count in the county went down by 600.

Christian Spence, Head of Business Intelligence at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, said: “Headline unemployment at the national level remains at 7.8 per cent, some way above the seven per cent level that the Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has recently announced will be the key indicator before the Bank again considers raising Bank Rate.

“Overall, the picture is positive and the Greater Manchester and North West labour markets are making steady progress in recovering from the economic crisis. Pay rates remain restrained with regular pay rising only 1.1 per cent in the past year. Compared to the headline rate of CPI inflation at 2.8 per cent, household incomes may remain constrained over the coming period though there is evidence households are beginning to take increased unsecured credit and removing savings and that is having positive effects on consumer demand.”