Drop in jobless figures – and average earnings

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Unemployment in the North West has dropped by seven per cent in the last quarter, and now stands at 243,000, according to Government statistics.

Nationally , the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance is on course to dip below a million for the first time in six years. The Government said youth unemployment has seen the largest annual fall since records began 30 years ago, alongside the steepest annual fall in unemployment in a quarter of a century.

Schemes such as the Work Programme have contributed to the biggest fall in long-term unemployment since 1998, said ministers.

The jobless total was 2.08 million in the quarter to June, down by 132,000 on January to March and the lowest since the end of 2009, giving an unemployment rate of 6.4 per cent.

The claimant count fell for the 21st month in a row in July, by 33,600 to 1.01 million, according to the Office for National Statistics.

If the trend continues, the number of Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants will fall below a million next month for the first time since September 2008.

The number of self-employed people has reached a record 4.5 million.

But average earnings fell by 0.2 per cent in the year to June, due to an unusually high growth rate a year ago. Excluding bonuses, pay was 0.6 per cent higher than a year ago.

More people are in work – up by 167,000 over the quarter, to 30.6 million.