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  1. ITV Report

Unemployment in the North West falls by 40,000

Unemployment in the North West fell by 40,000 in the three months to August, official figures have revealed.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that a total of 292,000 people were unemployed in the region between June and August.

The region's unemployment rate was 8.4% and saw a drop of 12% during the period.

Nationwide, the number of people in work has reached a record high, although more are in part-time jobs than ever.

Employment grew in the quarter to August by 212,000 to 29.59 million, the highest since records began in 1971. Unemployment fell by 50,000 in the same period to 2.53 million, the lowest since the spring, giving a jobless rate of 7.9%.

The numbers claiming jobseeker's allowance fell by 4,000 in September to 1.57 million, the third consecutive monthly fall and the lowest total since July 2011.

The ONS also reported that part-time employment increased by 125,000 between March and May to a record high of 8.13 million. The number of people in part-time jobs because they could not find full-time work was close to a record high at 1.4 million.

Youth unemployment fell by 62,000 to 957,000, the lowest figure for over a year. Self-employment has also increased, up by 35,000 to 4.2 million, while the number of unpaid workers in a family business rose by 2,000 to 112,000.

Minister for Employment Mark Hoban said: "It's a real landmark to see more people in work than ever before. Despite the tough economic times, the private sector continues to create jobs and our welfare reforms are encouraging people to return to work - with 170,000 fewer people on the main out-of-work benefits than in May 2010.

"The big fall in youth unemployment is particularly welcome, but we know this remains a challenge, which is why we have the £1 billion Youth Contract offering nearly 500,000 work experience places, apprenticeships and wage incentives to help young people get a job."