Updated: Wednesday, 1st April 2020 @ 9:43pm

North West unemployment at ‘all-time high’ after biggest UK increase of last quarter

North West unemployment at ‘all-time high’ after biggest UK increase of last quarter

By Dean Wilkins

Figures released today show that unemployment reached an ‘all-time high’ across the North West, rising 26,000 to 319,000 in the last quarter.

The rise represents a 0.7% share, taking the total amount of people out of work up to 9.3%.

The national unemployment number rose by 48,000, meaning the North West represented over half the country’s figures.

The national unemployment rate went up to 8.4%, the highest for 16 years.

The records now reveal that 197,000 men and 122,000 women are jobless, with a combined increase of 57,000 since last year.

Dr Brian Sloan, Chief Economist at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, said: “Today’s unemployment figures reveal that the claimant count across Greater Manchester reached an all-time high of 86,240.

“Our Quarterly Economic Survey indicated that the outlook for employment was extremely weak, therefore this is not entirely unexpected. Unemployment is picking up pace in the North West and this will reinforce the region’s domestic slowdown. We have made strong arguments that the region’s economy needed more support from both the Government and the Bank of England, and this demonstrates that the time for words is long gone.

“We must see targeted support and real game changing infrastructure investment in the North West from the Government when the Chancellor delivers his Budget speech in March. The North offers great potential to deliver growth now and for the long term; Government has said the right things about delivering growth in the regions, but there has been little in the way of action. Sadly the result is the increase in those out of work that we see today.”

The number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in Greater Manchester rose by almost 11,000 to 82,000, or a 15.3% increase compared with 12 months ago. The number includes 26,000 16-24-year-olds, which is up by 4,800; this takes the national number of out-of-work young people up to 1.04million, the highest since records began 20 years ago.

However, the ONS data showed that employment figures did rise by 90,000 due to two thirds of the number going into part-time positions.

There were 1.39 million days lost through industrial disputes in the year to last December, the highest figure since 2002.

Around 164,000 workers were made redundant or took voluntary redundancy in the final quarter of last year, up by 17,000 from the three months to September.