Jobless figures fall again

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THERE were further sighs of relief in Wigan today after latest figures showed unemployment fell for the second month running in April.

But no one is declaring that the borough is out of trouble economically and there were predictions at the beginning of the year locally that jobless numbers would yo-yo over the coming months.

And with news this week that Morrisons is considering closing its Rathbone bakery in Wigan, there are real concerns of an imminent rise.

But last month 9,648 people claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance compared with 9,758 the month before – a fall of 110.

The number of 18 to 24-year-old claimants also fell, with 25,960 claiming the benefit last month compared with 27,130 the month before.

Coun David Molyneux, Wigan Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for the economy, said: “At least we are heading in the right direction with two consecutive falls.

“But the possibility of Rathbone’s closing reminds us that there could still be difficult times ahead and that we need to keep our guard up and keep working hard to maximise employment opportunities locally.”

Dr Brian Sloan, chief economist at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, said: “Today’s fall in the claimant count is encouraging news and reinforces our view that the region is experiencing growth at present.

“Our last Quarterly Economic Survey told us that firms in Greater Manchester were becoming more confident in their outlook and looking to recruit in the months ahead, and this is evidence that this is reaching fruition.

“The positive increases in employment nationally and falls in the number of unemployed should also ease concerns about the recent GDP figures.

“And though challenges remain we must not be unduly pessimistic.”