Employment ticks down but wages rise

Unemployment remains fairly stable
Unemployment remains fairly stable

The number of people in work has remained at a near-record high despite a slight fall in employment, new figures show.

And locally, the number of people claiming work related benefits fell fractionally.

Nationally, there were 32.39 million people in a job in the three months to August, a fall of 5,000 on the previous quarter.

It was the first fall since last autumn, although employment is still 289,000 higher than a year ago, the Office for National Statistics said.

Unemployment fell by 47,000 to 1.36 million, giving a jobless rate of four per cent.

Average earnings increased by 2.7 per cent in the year to August, from 2.6 per cent the previous month.

But the number of people classed as economically inactive increased by 103,000 to 8.7 million after a similar rise in last month's figures. The total included 52,000 students.

David Freeman, the ONS's head of labour market, said: "People's regular monthly wage packets grew at their strongest rate in almost a decade, but, allowing for inflation, the growth was much more subdued.

"The number of people in work remained at a near-record high, while the unemployment rate was at its lowest since the mid-1970s.

"However, there was a notable uptick in the number of people who were neither working nor looking for a job, particularly among students."

In Lancashire the number of people claiming benefits remained flat overall with some area seeing fewer claimants.

In the Blackpool North and Cleveleys constituency, 1,560 people claimed benefits such as Universal Credit and Job Seekers Allowance in September down 0.1 per cent on the same period last year.

In Blackpool South there were 2,125 claimants, down 0.2 per cent on last year. In Chorley there were 1,030 claimants, down 0.1 per cent on September 2017.

In Fylde, there were 625 claimants, down 0.1 per cent, in Lancaster and Fleetwood there were 1,260 up 0.2 per cent, while in Morecambe and Lunesdale there were 2,045, up 0.3 per cent.

In Preston there were 1,975 claimants, the same as for September last year, while in Ribble Valley there were 545, also the same as last year.

In Wyre and Preston North, there were 400 claimants, the same as last year while in Wigan there were 2,190, up 0.5 per cent.

Overall figures for the North West showed that there were 152,000 unemployed in the region, up 10,000 on the previous month giving an unemployment rate of 4.2 per cent.