1. ITV Report

Unemployment falls in the North West

New data shows a slump in public sector employment and an increase employment in private firms Photo: PA Images

Unemployment in the North West fell by 18,000 in the three months to October, official figures have revealed.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that a total of 298,000 people were unemployed in the region between August and October. The region's unemployment rate was 8.6% and saw a fall of 5.7% during the period.

Nationwide, a record number of people are in work after the biggest quarterly fall in unemployment for over a decade.

The jobless total fell by 82,000 in the three months to October, to 2.51 million, down by 128,000 on a year ago. The ONS said it was the biggest quarterly fall since the Spring of 2001.

Employment jumped by 40,000 to 29.6 million, the highest figure since records began in 1971 and up by half a million on a year ago.

The shift in employment patterns was revealed in new data showing a slump in public sector employment and an increase in the numbers employed in private firms.

Public sector employment fell for the 12th consecutive quarter, by 24,000 to 5.7 million, the lowest since 2002. Employment in the civil service was cut by 3,000 to 455,000, the lowest since records began in 1999, while local government employment also fell to a record low of 2.5 million after a cut of 32,000.

Private sector employment rose by 65,000 in the latest quarter to 23.8 million, the highest on record. The number of unemployed 16 to 24-year-olds fell by 72,000 to 945,000.

Employment minister Mark Hoban said: "Once again, these figures show that the private sector is creating far more jobs than are being lost in the public sector. It's a credit to British businesses that they're proving wrong those cynics who claimed the private sector wouldn't be able to step up.

"With unemployment falling again and more people in work, today's figures are very welcome. To see youth unemployment, excluding students, at its lowest level for three and a half years is particularly good news. But we're not complacent and know there are still lots of challenges ahead, which is why the Government will continue working hard to help those people who want to get on in life and allow the UK to compete in the global race."