Jobless numbers down in the North West

The jobless total has dipped to a near seven-year low nationally
The jobless total has dipped to a near seven-year low nationally

Unemployment in the North West has fallen by 2,000 to 219,000, an average rate of 6.2 per cent.

Nationally, the jobless total has dipped to a near seven-year low after a fall of more than 100,000, while a record number of people are in work, new figures have shown.

The jobless total is 1.86 million, the lowest since the summer of 2008 and almost half a million down on a year ago.

The jobless rate is now 5.7 per cent, compared to a European Union average of 9.8 per cent.

The number of people claiming jobseeker’s allowance fell by 31,000 to 791,200 in February – the 28th consecutive monthly reduction.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) also reported that employment increased by 143,000 in the latest quarter to January to almost 30.1 million, the highest since records began in 1971.

The employment rate of 73.3 per cent has never been higher.

The number of people classed as economically inactive, including those on long-term sick leave, looking after a relative or who have given up looking for work, fell by 30,000 to just over nine million, or 22.2 per cent of 16 to 64-year-olds.

The figure is 14,000 higher than a year ago.

Self-employment increased by 33,000 to 4.5 million, close to a record high, and accounting for more than a quarter of all employment.

Other figures showed that public sector employment has fallen by 6,000 to just under 5.4 million, the lowest since current records began in 1999.

The biggest losses have been in local government, while employment in the NHS increased by 18,000 over the past year.

Average earnings increased by 1.8 per cent in the year to January, down by 0.3 per cent on the previous month.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said: “This is a remarkable set of figures, which underlines this Government’s success in backing businesses to create jobs, and supporting British people to seize those opportunities.

“As a country, we should be proud that there are now record numbers of people in work, and record numbers of job vacancies available.”