Unemployment back up again in borough

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TREND-bucking Wigan saw its unemployment figure go up last month - as the region celebrated a large fall.

Latest statistics show that 141 more people were claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in the borough during October than there were in September. The demise of JJB Sports is mainly to blame for cutting short the latest recovery.

Meanwhile the region as a whole has seen a big drop in unemployment of eight per cent over the last three months.

Greater Manchester too saw joblessness fall by 450 (half a per cent) in October although analysts say it is “behind the recovery curve”. Compared with its position at this time last year there are still 2,200 more people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance.

There was some comfort in Wigan, however, with the number of 18 to 24-year-old claimants - which generally makes up around a third of the borough’s jobless - falling by 15 to 2,920.

Dr Brian Sloan, Chief Economist at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce said: “Overall there continues to be positive news at the national level for employment and unemployment, however, the number of people moving into work has slowed sharply.

“Greater Manchester businesses are continuing to create jobs, but this is weak and we are looking to the early indications of our Q4 Quarterly Economic Survey that is now underway, for evidence of an improvement. In the current flat economic environment early indications are not showing signs of a strong pick up.

“We are looking to the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement to deliver growth opportunities in our region where there remains great potential to address these issues and create more jobs. Government must deliver certainty over the future direction of policy to give businesses the confidence to invest in the energy and infrastructure needs that will address the issues of worklessness in this region and go a long way to supporting long term planning of the skills needs of our young people.”