Unemployment plummets across Greater Manchester – but Rochdale not up to job

Unemployment figures across Greater Manchester have fallen over the last year – though Rochdale has bucked the trend, according to new figures from the Office of National Statistics.

Nine out of ten areas across the region saw a decline in unemployment between June 2012/13 and June 2013/14, but the borough of Rochdale recorded an increase of 0.5%, according to the report.

Overall the number of people unemployed in Greater Manchester fell by 8,000, a decline of 0.6% to 115,000.

Susan Ayres, Economic Affairs Manager at Rochdale Borough Council, questioned the figures and said the increase was insignificant.

“Rochdale is doing an awful lot to attract new employers and we’ve got new employers coming here all the time,” she said.

“I think it’s the figures don’t reflect the true story.”

“I don’t think [Rochdale does stand out] because the numbers are just so small.”

Asked why Rochdale is the only area in Greater Manchester to have witnessed such an increase, she said: “Well, we can’t explain that.

“But I think because it’s just one area I would question the statistics.”

Despite seeing an increase in unemployment, the amount of people claiming Jobseekers Allowance in Rochdale has fallen, contributing to the 20,000 drop across the region.

But the town’s jobless statistics mean an average of around one person per day became unemployed in Rochdale across the one-year period.

Oldham in particular has reason to celebrate, as it recorded the sharpest drop in JSA claimants; a fall of 1.8%.

This saw the town move from being the worst area by percentage of claimants up to sixth out of ten.

Stockport is another achiever, having improved its employment rate by 1.5% to make it the area performing best for working-age residents in jobs, at 76.3%.

The figures also show Greater Manchester to have created an additional 15,000 jobs.

And Ms Ayres says the council are being done to encourage employment in Rochdale.

She said: “There is an awful lot of activity that is taking place to attract new businesses and they are moving in, creating local jobs and we are matching those local jobs with local people.”

The statistics come as Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce predicts a steady growth in the region’s economy into 2015, and expects the decline in regional unemployment to continue.

Speaking in August, Christian Spence, Head of Business Intelligence at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, said: “In Greater Manchester, the claimant count is now at its lowest since September 2008 and has seen the fastest monthly fall in over 17 years.

“The number of under-25s claiming Jobseeker’s allowance has not been this low for nearly a decade and has nearly halved in the past twelve months.

“Oldham’s youth claimant count now stands at the lowest on record and down 72% in the last year.”

John Ashcroft, Chief Economist of the Chamber, said that investment in the region is also likely to increase next year.

“Construction output, driven by developments in housing and infrastructure, is expected to increase just around 5.5% in the year and 4.0% in 2015,” he added.

The figures for Greater Manchester come alongside a recent government announcement that unemployment in the UK has fallen below two million, its lowest since the recession began in 2008.

Image courtesy of J J Ellison, with thanks.

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