Unemployment figures fall

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THE number of Wigan people out of work has fallen – but the number of Under-25s on the dole has risen.

The swings and roundabouts local figures were released as both the region and the country as a whole saw big decreases in the number of Jobseekers’ Allowance claimants.

The labour market figures show that the claimant count in Wigan fell by 31 in September to 9,440 and nationally unemployment fell by 50,000 to 2.53 million.

The North West region also saw the highest fall in unemployment of any UK region; the number of unemployed falling by 40,000 over the quarter to August 2012. In September, 2,935 Wigan people between the ages of 18 and 24 claimed Jobseekers’ allowance, compared with 2,885 the previous month – a rise of 50.

Dr Brian Sloan, Chief Economist at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, said: “As always, the devil is in the detail with this statistical release.

“Last month we warned that the official figures indicated that the jobs market was stalling in the region, and though it is good to see that there has been a considerable fall in unemployment again, these figures support our belief that the jobs market in the region is flat at present.

“Part time working and self-employment, as a result of unemployment push, are also increasing. The domestic economy remains very weak in this region and more must be done to support growth to create sustainable and long term job opportunities to address worklessness.”

On the subject of Wigan’s younger people out of work, Dr Sloan added: “Upward pressure on the claimant count in this age category reflects people leaving full time education, but is also evidence that businesses are recruiting fewer trainees due to the uncertain economic outlook.”

In Wigan borough 16 to 25-year-olds constitute a third of the jobless population.

Jacqueline Corbett, Regional Manager of Totaljobs.com in the North West, said: “Today’s figures give rise for cautious optimism in the North West.

“During this testing climate, there will still be redundancies, such as the news that JJB Sports stores in the North West are to close 17 of their branches, but it seems that investment into other industries and sectors is paying off. One of these sectors is infrastructure, underlined by Easyjet’s plans for expansion into five new business routes.

“It’s great to see the recent news that over 10% of the UK’s graduates have been attracted into the North West jobs market, showing that we have attractive companies that can compete with the graduate epicentre London. Despite this however, the government needs to do more to support young people to allow us to continue to sustain development.

“If large numbers of unemployed people don’t find jobs, it will affect us in years to come, as this people are forced onto benefits and taxpayers will have to pay the price.”