THE number of younger Wigan folk out of work has more than halved in just a year.
As latest figures showed another sharp downturn in the number of folk claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance last month, there was particular satisfaction in the continuing rapid decline in under-25s on the dole.
In 2012 the borough was held up as having one of the worst problems with unemployment in the 16 to 24 age bracket. There were well over 3,000 of them and made up more than a third of all Wiganers out of work.
Since then there has been a remarkable turn-around. Between April and May there was another drop of 135 so the claimant count now stands at 1,260. The overall borough May figure is 5,837 - down another 383.
Tricia Hallows, a Job Centre manager for the Greater Manchester district, said: “There has been a fall of more than 50 per cent in the number of younger people in Wigan claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in the last year. The number of long-term unemployed has also gone down by 700: that’s 25 per cent.
“We have done a lot of work locally with employers, using all manner of initiatives, aimed particularly at younger people. This includes voluntary work which puts them in a much better position to gain employment. Well above 50 per cent of people who take a voluntary placement go on to get a permanent job at that workplace or with another employer very shortly afterwards.
“Furthermore we have £2,275 work incentives for employers to take on a person for at least six months and we encourage employers to take on apprentices.
“We are also working with employers to team up with sector-based work academies to take people on who have been unemployed, some for a considerable time, with support for training to prepare them for available jobs.”
Ms Hallows said she saw no reason why the positive job trends could not continue.