Slight rise in borough jobless number

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WIGAN’S hopes of enjoying a whole year of falling unemployment were scuppered by January’s Jobseeker’s Allowance figures last night.

The latest claimant count showed that the first tip below 7,000 for five years in December was a temporary one. It stands at 7,026 with 1,580 of them in the 16 to 24 age group. The statistic for younger members of the potential workforce continues to decline. The overall rise in Wigan reflected a national trend.

Christian Spence, Head of Business Intelligence at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, said he was surprised at the claimant rise but added: “We are not concerned by this small shift, caused more by the statistical reporting methods and three-month averages used by the ONS than by any tangible sign of labour market weakness or reticence to hire from employers.”