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North West employment closely follows the national trend


Employment is at a record high of 74.6% of the available workforce with 31.84 million now in work and unemployment nationally at 4.8%  just below the rate of 5% for the North West Region, which after years of being an unemployment blackspot has figures lower than London at 5.5 % and the West Midlands 5.9%.

Wages are said to be rising at a rate of 2.6%  still well ahead of inflation at 1.6% but forecasters are predicting increasing pressure on the inflation rate in the coming months as the effect of the falling pound increases the cost of raw materials such as oil which is sourced in dollars.

 There are over 750,000 vacancies in the market at any one time.

Most data for the last quarter out today 15/2/17,  points to good news with unemployment at the lowest rate for 11 years.

The figures generally present a positive picture of an expanding economy and Labour market, but as often in with the release of employment figures the devil is in the detail and there are some trends contradictory to general positive news.

In the North West where the number of women in work has risen by 60,000 over the past year to record high of 1.65 million women in work and private sector employment is up 209,000 since 2010.

Economic growth in the North West, Gross Value Added ( GVA) in 2015 stood at £156.9 billion, a 3.6% rise on the previous year.

Significantly youth unemployment is down but still remains stubbornly high at  12.6%  though it is at the lowest level since 2005.

Apprenticeships and training schemes are helping, with younger people in the workforce taking part in 141,040  apprenticeships in the North West and the number starting apprenticeships  80,820 in 2015/16.

The sustained and determined efforts being aimed at the 16 -24 age group nationally and locally is having an effect, and in Tameside itself there are 85 less claimants under 24 than this time last year leaving a remaining total of claimants under 24 across the borough of 840.

This compares with 3645 the number of all claimants in Tameside, which is down one per cent from last year ,but a massive 50 per cent from five years ago.

Figures also point to how the nature and character of our work and occupations in the region is shifting, moving further away from manufacturing to hospitality, distribution and Information Technology .

Since 2010 the North West has lost 19000 manufacturing jobs but gained 38 ,000 in hospitality and a massive 110, 000 in IT and business services,

On the new jobs front, Budget supermarket Lidl is to create 500 jobs after unveiling plans to open a new warehouse in Bolton. The German chain has acquired the freehold for 43.71 acres at the town’s Logistics North scheme for £22.5 million and plans to pump millions more into developing it.

Merseyside Police reveals plan to recruit 140 new constables The recruitment drive will be open to anyone aged 18 or over and is set to begin in January.

And force bosses are urging people from all backgrounds to apply in the hope of creating a truly diverse team to serve Merseyside.

Secretary of State, Damian Green, said:“With employment at its highest rate since records began, and unemployment at its lowest in over a decade, we remain in a position of strength.

“Our on-going welfare reforms will continue to incentivise work and make sure the system is fair to all those who need it and those who pay for it.
“It’s good news in the North West where the number of women in work has risen by 60,000 over the past year to record high of 1.65 million women in work.”

Denton and Reddish MP Andrew Gwynne countered:”Although I’m pleased that overall claimant count has reduced slightly with latest figures, I’m still very worried the latest employment statistics show that across the Denton and Reddish constituency the rate of youth unemployment for 16-24 year old’s is still much too high.”

“We need to invest in the wider skills market and on transport so our local youngsters can access the new jobs being created at Airport City, Media City, the city centre as well as attracting more and better quality jobs to Tameside and Stockport.”