The hidden tragedy behind falling unemployment figures

Messenger Newspapers: The hidden tragedy problem behind falling unemployment figures The hidden tragedy problem behind falling unemployment figures

FIGURES released recently reveal a fall in unemployment in the North West, with Trafford one of the best performing boroughs in the region.

But the North West TUC has called for more to be done to tackle the problems it says are hidden by the news.

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) revealed that in the North West, unemployment has fallen by 29,000 (7.5%) across the region.

However across the North West, long-term unemployment black spots remain. Liverpool, Manchester and Lancashire are particularly affected, ranked sixth, ninthand 11th respectively among local authorities for JSA claimants out of work for more than one year.

In total, 18 North West local authorities have more than 1,000 JSA claimants who will be spending their second successive year out of work but desperately looking.

Lynn Collins, NW TUC Regional Secretary, said, “We welcome the fall in unemployment but the long term unemployment figures show that there is a clear need for more to be done in the region.

"Seeing people, who want to get back in to work, spend successive Christmases on the dole is not only demoralising for them but damaging for us too.

"Getting people back in to work and contributing is what we need and want to see. We also need to make sure that people are getting into the work they need – there are nearly 1.5 million people working part time in the UK, when they want and need full time work.

"We’ve got to get people into jobs that give them the hours and pay they require.”

The North West is not only affected by the problem of long term unemployment but pay. The recently announced Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings showed that the North West has suffered a cut in average pay of £1,900 (7.1%) since 2010, compounded by the continued squeeze on pay with average earnings increasing by just 0.9% this month against inflation of 2.2%.

Lynn Collins added, “Festive cheer will be difficult for many families this year. We hear of workers who tell us that they see their pay packet just doesn’t stretch as far any more.

"At this time of year, it’s more noticeable as families will find it harder to afford the basic necessities, let alone presents. It’s little wonder that we are seeing urgent appeals for people to donate to food banks across the region.”

According to the latest labour market statistics, 136 local authority areas had more than 1,000 people who had been claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance for more than 12 months in November 2013.

In the North West, these are: Liverpool 5,790

  • Manchester 5,040
  • Lancashire 4,755
  • Wigan 2,270
  • Sefton 2,210
  • Bolton 2,170
  • Oldham 1,970
  • Salford 1,920
  • Wirral 1,725
  • Tameside 1,620
  • Rochdale 1,535
  • Knowsley 1,515
  • Blackpool 1,44
  • St Helens 1,405
  • Stockport 1,310
  • Cheshire East 1,160
  • Cheshire West and Chester 1,085
  • Warrington 1,020
  • Trafford 975
  • Blackburn with Darwen 920

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