WIGAN is now close to celebrating a whole year of declining unemployment.
Latest official figures for the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance showed it drop below the 7,000 mark for the first time in more than five years.
The claimant count dropped by another 139 in December and means that since last February, 2,885 fewer people are out of work.
That group worst hit by the recession - the 16 to 24-year-old - also has further cause for celebration. The number of younger Wigan borough claimants in January dropped by another 90 to 1,635, which is about half of what it was at the beginning of 2013.
Some 63,300 people were claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in Greater Manchester in December 2013 which is a 3.3 per cent decrease of 2,100 from the previous month.
The North West (1.7 per cent) and Great Britain (1.8 per cent) also saw monthly declines. As a proportion of the resident working age population, 3.6 per cent of people in Greater Manchester were claiming JSA in December – higher than the North West (3.3 per cent) and Great Britain (2.9).
Youth unemployment (JSA claimants aged 16 to 24) in Greater Manchester fell by around 1,100 to around 15,400.
An acid test, however, will be the January figures, which will be published in a month’s time, because they often see a rise in claimants due to people being laid off after temporary Christmas work.