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  1. ITV Report

Unemployment figures fall across the North West

Unemployment in the North West fell by 6,000 in the three months to December, official figures have revealed.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that a total of 277,000 people were unemployed in the region between October and December.

The region's unemployment rate was 8.1% and it saw a fall of 2.1% during the period. The worst area in the UK was the South West which recorded a 3,000 increase in the number of people without a job.

Unemployment nationally has continued to fall and a record number of women are in work, new figures revealed.

The number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance dipped to 1.22 million in January, down by 27,000 - the 15th consecutive monthly fall.

More women are in work than at any time since records began in 1971, at just over 14 million, the data from the ONS showed.

But 1.4 million people are in part-time jobs because they cannot find full-time work, a fall of 29,000 over the latest quarter but 46,000 higher than a year ago.

Youth and long-term unemployment have both fallen, but there has been little change in the number of people classed as economically inactive, which has remained just under nine million.

With employment continuing to increase, it's clear that the Government's long-term plan to build a stronger, more secure economy is helping businesses create jobs and get people into work.

– Esther McVey, Employment Minister

"Record numbers of women are in work and youth unemployment continues to fall, which means more people have the security of a regular wage and can plan for their future."

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said: "Quarter by quarter, job by job, we are rebuilding Britain's economy. Every job created is a family helped and a boost to our economic growth.

"This, combined with the encouraging news on inflation earlier this week, is further convincing evidence that our long-term economic plan is working.

"Rebuilding the economy, boosting employment, securing growth and controlling inflation are the only ways to secure living standards for the future."

Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted: "It's good to see another fall in unemployment. Our Long Term Economic Plan means more people with the security of a wage and a chance in life."

Sadly, today's fall in the total number of unemployed masks the scourge of under-employment, which is growing at an alarming rate across the country.

– Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison

"Too many people are stuck in minimum-wage jobs, on zero-hours contracts and part-time work when they are desperate to go full-time.

"Desperate because they need regular, secure employment to feed their families without having to resort to food banks, pay their bills without falling into the grip of payday lenders and decent pay to rebuild consumer confidence and grow the economy.