Relief as jobless total falls

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THERE was relief in Wigan today as the recent upsurge in unemployment was thrown into reverse.

Latest Government figures reveal that last month 9,758 people claimed the benefit in the borough, compared with 9,850 the month before - a drop of almost 100.

The number of 18 to 24-year-olds claiming the benefit last month also fell in March to 3,180 compared with 3,235 in February.

This is a marked improvement on the previous two months’ figures which saw 800 more people joining the dole queues.

Wigan’s figures are following the trend in the region, as there is a 0.9 per cent decrease in people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in Greater Manchester and youth unemployment has also declined by 500 to 27,300.

However, unemployment figures for the North West show that there were 61,000 fewer people in employment in the three months to February than in the three months to November 2011.

Over the same period there was a rise of 18,000 in the number of people unemployed.

In a bid to help young adults find work, Rathbone Training has launched its R-Zone project, which offers careers advice.

Peter Gibson, spokesman for Rathbone, said: “We are trying to send out a positive message and support people to gain employment.

“At the moment we are focusing on 19 to 24-year-olds and our advice to young people is to pack their CV with not just qualifications, but also work experience.

“We urge businesses in Wigan to give youngsters a quick taster of work as it would make a huge difference to their future.”

Dr Brian Sloan, chief economist at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, said: “The numbers for unemployment in the North West will once again disappoint and dent household confidence, but there are encouraging signs that private sector job creation is picking up.

“As predicted, firms are hiring and as a result the claimant count in Greater Manchester is falling.

“The North West unemployment data is for the quarter to February, not March as the claimant count is, and suggests that the scale of job losses is slowing and we expect that the figures will improve as hiring intentions have strengthened for the months ahead.”

n For more employment news see the Wigan Evening Post Jobs feature on page 23.