Miranda Dobson

Greater Manchester JSA claimants up in February

Unemployment figures released on Wednesday showed the number of Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) claimants in Greater Manchester was 86,600 in February, up by 1.7% from the previous month.

Across Great Britain, JSA claimants were up by 2.1% in the same period, while in the whole of the North West this figure went up by 1.5%.

February saw an incremental 0.6% increase in claimants who have been out of work for more than six months, while this figure came to 2.7% year-on-year.

Youth unemployment also grew by approximately 2.2% to 23,500 in February, however on an annual basis, the number of young JSA claimants (between 16 and 24-years old) is 15.4% lower than this time last year.

Baran Frankal, director of economic strategy at Manchester think tank, New Economy, said: “With all eyes on today’s Budget and what the Chancellor might be able to do to reignite a stalling economy, the JSA figures for February serve to highlight the ongoing difficulties faced by those trying to re-enter the labour market.

“The total number of claimants continues to increase on a monthly basis across Greater Manchester, although the annual fall recorded in youth claimants is at least one bit of encouraging news.

“As the Chancellor himself has noted, there is no magic wand that can be waved in order to accelerate economic growth.

“The key to any long-term recovery will be to give areas such as Greater Manchester more power to determine their own economic futures.

“The announcement by Government that it would accept 81 of the 89 recommendations outlined in Lord Heseltine’s Growth Plan, including a single pot for funding dedicated to promoting regional economic growth, is certainly a step in the right direction.”

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