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Wigan Borough battles the recession
Wednesday 7th July, 2010

Wigan Borough’s local economy is performing strongly against the wider – and often bleaker – picture.

Data just released by Wigan Council’s economic regeneration office shows unemployment in the borough falling faster than any other part of Greater Manchester, and at a faster rate than North West and UK averages.

Other headline data shows that the Future Jobs Fund is having a positive impact on youth unemployment – a decline in over 15 per cent this year – and from January to May, 4,385 people stopped claiming Job Seekers Allowance and returned to work – much higher than comparative periods in 2009 and 2008.

“This is a real success story for local business and local people,“ says Cllr David Molyneux, the cabinet champion for regeneration. “We have worked closely with business leaders, banks, advice groups and our own economics experts to support jobs, people and businesses. Once again, Wigan people have proven their resilience and a hard working attitude.”

The Intensive Start Up Support (ISUS) Business programme is creating one new business every day. The programme is expected to be 50 per cent above target, with 600 new businesses formed across Wigan. Currently Wigan accounts for nearly a fifth of all ISUS start ups across Greater Manchester.

Key figures:
  • Wigan’s rate of unemployment currently stands at 4.7 per cent, the 4th lowest in Greater Manchester.

  • In 2010, unemployment amongst 18 to 24 year olds declined by 15.23 per cent to 2,895.

  • 1,729 vacancies were advertised by Job Centre Plus in May 2010, an increase of almost 29 per cent on last May, and of almost 8 per cent on May 2008.

  • All major sectors showed growth in the number of vacancies in May 2010 compared to May 2009 with the exception of Public Sector which declined by 42 per cent, with vacancies for public services continuing to fall.
Susan Gambles, head of the council’s regeneration agency, says: “The work of the council’s economic regeneration office and its partners has helped Wigan weather the financial storm. The effect of the Future Jobs Fund in reducing youth unemployment and the impressive performance of the Working Neighbourhood Fund’s programme with clients to sharply cut some incapacity claimants, have been essential for our local economy.”

The council has pledged to continue its work alongside local businesses and through funding streams to ensure these strong trends continue to benefit locals and the wider economy.

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