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Unemployment figures rise again in the North West

Unemployment figures rise again in the North West, despite falling nationally Photo: PA Images

Unemployment rose again in the North West in the three months to May 2012, despite a national fall.

The number out of work rose by 6,000 to 331,000. The North West saw the second highest increase in people out of work, behind only Yorkshire/Humberside.

Unemployment nationally fell for the fourth month in a row and more jobs are being created, especially for people over the age of 65, new figures suggested.

The jobless total fell by 65,000 to 2.58 million in the quarter to May, the lowest for almost a year, while the number of people in employment increased by 181,000 to just under 30 million, the highest for almost four years.

But the numbers claiming jobseeker's allowance jumped by 6,100 last month to 1.6 million, including an increase of 8,000 among women to 530,700, the highest figure for 17 years.

The Office for National Statistics said the increase among women was likely to have been affected by a change in eligibility rules for lone parent income support from May.

Long-term unemployment has also increased, with those out of work for more than two years up by 18,000 to 441,000, the worst figure since 1997.

The number jobless for more than a year rose by 3,000 to 885,000, while there were just over a million unemployed 16 to 24-year-olds, down 10,000 on the three months to February.

Most age groups showed increases in employment, with a rise of 52,000 in over-65s in work to reach 929,000, the highest since records began in 1992.

The unemployment rate is now 8.1%, down by 0.2 percentage points, although the jobless total is 132,000 higher than a year ago.

Other figures showed that those classed as economically inactive, including people looking after a relative, on early retirement or who have given up looking for work, fell by 61,000 to 9.2 million, mainly due to a cut of 82,000 among students.

The biggest falls in unemployment, and increase in work, was in London, suggesting that the Olympic Games is having an impact on the figures.

The number of vacancies increased by 10,000 in the quarter to June to 471,000.

Average earnings increased by 1.5% in the year to May, up by 0.1 percentage points on the previous month, giving an average weekly wage of #468.

Employment Minister Chris Grayling today visited a new delivery office opened in London by TNT, which said it planned to create 20,000 new jobs across the UK in the next five years.

Around 70 new posts have been created at the new office as part of a pilot scheme delivering post to households and businesses in west London.