North West sees unemployment increase

Job centre
The region saw an increase in unemployment Photo: PA Images

Unemployment in the North West rose by 18,000 in the three months to February, with the UK's biggest increase in people out of work, official figures have revealed.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that a total of 325,000 people were unemployed in the region between November and February.

The region's unemployment rate was 9.6% and saw an increase of 5.9% during the period.

Across the country unemployment fell for the first time in almost a year, leaving 2.65 million people out of work.

The total dipped by 35,000 in the quarter to February, giving a jobless rate of 8.3%.

The number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance increased for the 17th month in a row in March, up by 3,600 to 1.61 million, the smallest monthly rise since last December.

But other figures from the ONS revealed that the number of unemployed women increased by 8,000 in the latest quarter to 1.14 million, the highest figure for almost 25 years.

The number of people out of work for over a year jumped by 26,000 to 883,000, the worst total since 1996.

The figures also showed an 89,000 rise in the number of people working part-time because they could not find full-time jobs, to a total of 1.4 million, the highest figure since records began in 1992.

There was a 53,000 increase in the number of people in employment to 29 million, although the figure is 57,000 down on a year ago.