THE number of people claiming jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) in the borough has dropped once again with employment at a record high.
The latest figures, released by the National Office of Statistics, show that there were 2,877 claimants in September – nearly three times less than this time three years ago.
Some of the biggest areas of growth have been in the retail sector. That seems to have increased a lot recentlySteve Dillion, Wigan job centre
The drop is part of a steady decrease cover the past two-and-a-half years.
Spokesman for Wigan job centre Steve Dillon said: “These are really good figures for Wigan once again.
“Employment is also at 73.69 per cent, which is a record high.
“There are a number of reasons we have seen this, one being the start of Christmas recruitment which always starts to show at this time of year.
“There’s a new Toys R Us store which has opened in town too. We’ve been working with them and speaking to them all the way through and that has created 15 new jobs.
“Some of the biggest areas of growth have been in the retail sector. That seems to have increased a lot recently.
“We’re obviously hopeful for the future in that area too with the new Poundland warehouse in Bryn set to create 800 jobs as well.
“We’ve also seen openings in distribution too, which have contributed to the figures.”
The figures are also pleasing for young people with just 375 of the borough’s claimants being between 18 and 24.
This figure is also at an all-time low, more than half that of last year with the figure in September 2014 being 965.
Mr Dillon says the Job Centre has been working to increase apprenticeship opportunities in the area.
He said: “We’ve been working a lot with Wigan Youth Zone, preparing youngsters for applying for apprenticeships.
“They’ve been working them on getting ready with CVs and interview techniques as well.
“Two firms we’ve also been working with to help open apprenticeships are Vocational Solutions and also ISG, which is the contractor involved in the major renovation work at Wigan town hall.
“They’ve been helping a number of young people in getting into construction and getting their Construction Skills Certification Scheme card.
“Reducing unemployment in 18-24 year-olds is a big area for us so to see that figure down as well is very pleasing.”
The number of female JSA claimants is one which has dropped dramatically in the last year.
It went below 2.000 for the first time in more than five years last year and has now at its lowest ever figure, dropping below 1,100 for the first time.
One scheme the job centre is working on again is with the NHS which brought great success last year.
Mr Dillon added: “We worked with them last year and it was very successful.
“It was a scheme that helped train people in the admin side of things.
“Out of the 15 people that took part, 13 wen on to get sustainable work afterwards.
“That stretched right across the borough, with some at Leigh, some at Wigan and others elsewhere.
“We were delighted with how that went so we are now looking forward to seeing the success again.”