WIGAN’S economic recovery has hit a new landmark after the number of people in the borough claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance fell below the 3,000 mark for the first time since records began.
Latest Government figures show that in July there were 2,985 “on the dole” locally.
It is only a drop of 50 since May, but looking back at previous months and years’ statistics makes for impressive reading.
Only in January 2010 were there a whopping 10,120 JSA claimants and the number has, more or less, declined ever since.
The official numbers go back as far as 1985 but nowhere in those tables does Wigan dip below the 3,000 mark – until now.
There has been an equally impressive reduction in the number of younger adults out of work.
The fact that 3,500 folk aged between 18 and 24 were unemployed in August 2009 was cause for grave concern.
It constituted more than a third of all residents in that age group and was one of the biggest percentages in the country, prompting calls for urgent action.
Since then the economy has gradually recovered and there has been an upturn in the number of apprenticeships as well as job vacancies.
Fast forward six years from that crisis point and the number has tumbled to just 420.