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Little Christmas cheer in the Greater Manchester jobs market

Little Christmas cheer in the Greater Manchester jobs market

Figures released today for December 2011 show that the overall number of Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) claimants has increased by 10,900 (15.3%) in Greater Manchester (GM) over the past year.

Approximately 82,000 people were claiming JSA in GM in December 2011, broadly similar to the figure reported in November 2011 – the usual seasonal impact on the jobs market does not appear to have provided any short-term boost to employment.

Youth unemployment in GM saw a slight monthly decline in the number of claimants aged 16-24 between November and December, falling by 1.5% (390) to 26,000. This follows a monthly decline between October and November, however there are still 4,800 more people in GM aged 16-24 claiming JSA benefits than there were 12 months ago.

There are just under 33,000 long-term (6 months) claimants in GM based on the new data for December 2011. This is similar to the number of long-term claimants in November, although on an annual basis it represents an increase of 45% (10,200).

Commenting on the new figures Baron Frankal, director of economic strategy at New Economy, said: “The expected short-term boost as a result of the traditional seasonal employment in December did not materialise. There are now almost 11,000 more JSA claimants in Greater Manchester compared with 12 months ago, which is a serious concern.

“Long-term JSA claimant numbers have remained at similar levels for the last three months – while this has reversed the previous trend of rising long-term unemployment, the fact that nearly 33,000 people fall into this category shows how many people have fallen out of Greater Manchester’s labour market and have been unable to access any new opportunities. The same issue applies to youth unemployment – there are still far too many young people in the region out of work, and providing jobs for those aged 16-24 must remain a top priority.” 

Suggesting how Greater Manchester might tackle the ongoing rise in unemployment, Frankal adds: “Fundamentally, the way to address this is not only through mitigating the symptoms of unemployment, but by addressing the core issue of a lack of economic growth.

“Despite the difficult times, and the fact that they will no doubt get tougher as all the signs point to recession, we must forge more opportunities here in Greater Manchester and invest in things that will help sustain long-term growth, like the Graphene Hub, Airport City and building on further developments in and around MediaCityUK – and spread the proceeds of that growth throughout Greater Manchester".

“Manchester has one of the best economic foundations on which to buck the trend, particularly through internationalisation visitor and airport numbers continue to show we have real traction. The battle for economic growth in this city is a battle that we must win."


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