Reduction in claimants trend resumes


WIGAN’S jobless figure has started to fall again.

Latest statistics counting the borough’s Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants show that after an almost year-long reduction was interrupted by a rise in January – but that downward trend has now resumed.

The February number of JSA claimants stood at 6,767 - a drop of 259 on the previous month.

The number of young people of working age claiming fell by just five to 1,575 but continues an encouraging downward trend.

Christian Spence, head of business intelligence at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, said: “Today’s data shows a continued improvement in the labour market overall though, as is expected with data that includes January, the picture is weaker than previous releases as it contains seasonal lay-offs which are typical at this time of year.

“Nonetheless, the underlying data shows that the trend is positive with unemployment nationally falling by 63,000 in the three months to January 2014 compared to the previous three months though the rate remains steady at 7.2 per cent. The national claimant count fell from 3.7 per cent to 3.6 per cent in January.

“In Greater Manchester the claimant count fell in February by around 800 to 64,297. The Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce’s seasonally adjusted dataset fell rather more by over 1,000 to 62,514 confirming the underlying strength of the regional economy despite the seasonal redundancies that are normal in the New Year.

“Youth unemployment measured by claimant count has increased slightly (by 45) though, again, the trend remains positive.

“Pay rises for the year to the three months to January 2014 were 1.4 per cent, a significant improvement on previous data.

“Within this, private sector pay rose by 1.7 per cent, only 0.2 percentage points below the latest CPI inflation measure, indicating that real-terms pay decreases are close to being eradicated as we suggested would happen.”