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Employment hit a new record high this month with over 30 million people in jobs for the first time, according to figures published by the Office for National Statistics this morning.

The number of people working increased by 250,000 over the last three months, up 1,244,000 since February to April 2010, with the majority of the increase being full-time, permanent jobs in the private sector. Employment increased in Scotland and Wales and in every region in England.

The figures also show that unemployment fell by 99,000 in the last three months, bringing the unemployment rate to 7.4%, the lowest since 2009.

Employment Minister Esther McVey said

“It is really encouraging that we now have a record-breaking 30 million people in work, and more people in the North West are finding jobs. It’s also welcome to see unemployment in the region falling by 29,000 this quarter, and while there’s still more to do the Government’s long-term economic plan is helping people move off benefits and into work

“It’s also thanks to British businesses in the North West and across the country who are feeling increasingly more confident about taking on workers. This is a great sign that the economy is growing.”

Today’s figures also show:

  • Youth unemployment fell 19,000 over the last three months to 941,000.
  • Youth unemployment for those not in full-time education fell 25,000 over the last three months to 643,000.
  • Long-term (1 year plus) unemployment fell 33,000 over the last three months to 866,000 and it is down 38,000 on the year.
  • The number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance fell 36,700 this month – the 13th consecutive fall. The number of young people claiming JSA fell for 18th month running

Background to labour market statistics: December 2013

This month’s Labour Force Survey covers August to October 2013. The claimant count is for November 2013 and the vacancy count for September to November 2013.

The number of people in work rose this quarter

  • 30.09 million people were in work in August to October 2013.
  • The employment level rose 250 thousand on the previous quarter and 485 thousand on the year.
  • The employment rate is 72.0%, up 0.4 points on the quarter and up 0.8 points on the year.

ILO unemployment fell this quarter

  • 2.39 million people were ILO unemployed in August to October 2013, down 99 thousand on the previous quarter and 121 thousand on the year.
  • The ILO unemployment rate is 7.4%, down 0.3 points on the quarter and down 0.5 points on the year.

The level of economic inactivity is down on the quarter and on the year

  • The economic inactivity level was 8.92 million in August to October 2013, down 45 thousand on the previous quarter and 156 thousand on the year.
  • The economic inactivity rate is 22.1%, down 0.1 points on the quarter and down 0.4 points on the year.
  • Excluding students, inactivity as a share of the 16-64 population is 16.5%, unchanged on the quarter and down 0.6 points on the year.

The number of people on JSA fell this month, and the number claiming one of the other main out-of-work benefits is also improving 

  • Claimant unemployment was 1,269 thousand in November 2013, down 36.7 thousand on the month and down 299.3 thousand on the year.
  • The claimant count rate is 3.8%, down 0.1 points on the month and down 0.9 points on the year.
  • The figures continue to be affected by welfare reform, including re-assessment of existing claims for incapacity benefits and equalisation of the state pension age.
  • In the year to May 2013, the number claiming incapacity benefits fell 71,600 to 2.46 million. The most recent provisional figure for October 2013 suggests the caseload is at about the same level.
  • In the year to May 2013, the number of lone parents on income support fell 77,400 to 500,000. The provisional figure for October 2013 is 490,000.

The number of redundancies fell and unfilled vacancies rose on the quarter

  • There were 120 thousand redundancies in August to October 2013, down 1 thousand on the previous quarter and 27 thousand on the year.
  • ONS’ vacancy survey estimates an average of 562 thousand unfilled vacancies in the three months to November 2013, up 22 thousand on the previous quarter and 73 thousand on the year.

Total weekly pay in October 2013 was up by 0.9% over the year

  • Growth in regular weekly pay, excluding bonuses, was up by 0.8% on the year.



Christine Gaskell, Chair of the Cheshire & Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership:

“2013 has been a challenging year, but there is no doubt that businesses in Cheshire and Warrington are now moving in to a period of real growth. It is the job of the Cheshire & Warrington Enterprise Partnership to ensure that this growth is sustainable, to help boost the local and national economy.

“We’ve had some great news for job creation in 2013 including; Bentley Motors securing the production of the SUV vehicle at their factory in Crewe, new logistics and distribution centres for Travis Perkins and ASDA at Omega in Warrington and the creation of a new bio hub at Alderley Park with new companies already moving in.

“These and other projects provide a platform for us to build a strong future for Cheshire and Warrington that reflects our diverse economy and our reputation as one of the best locations in the country from which to do business. We are confident that 2014 will bring more businesses, more jobs and more growth for Cheshire and Warrington.”

George Beveridge, Chair of Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership and Deputy Managing Director of Sellafield Ltd:

“Recent research on behalf of the LEP and evidence from activity coming through our RGF programme applications and Cumbria Business Growth Hub show that significant numbers of businesses in the range of sectors and right across Cumbria are growing and actively investing time and other resources in growth.

“The 2013 Cumbria Business Survey for example shows that 10 per cent of Cumbrian businesses grew employment last year, with 28 per cent growing turnover. The same survey shows that 68 per cent of private sector businesses are looking to grow outputs, turnover and employment – through increased sales locally, nationally and internationally.

“It’s clear that Cumbrian businesses have an appetite for growth and can see real opportunities to do so which bodes very well for 2014 which I expect to be a positive one for Cumbrian businesses.”

Mike Blackburn, Chair of Greater Manchester’s Local Enterprise Partnership

“We’ve seen some key business announcements in 2013, not least the £800 million joint venture investment into our regional enterprise zone, Airport City, as well as Greater Manchester’s successful bids for RGF funding to support scientific enterprise.

“There has also been increased activity in support for the business community as a whole.  For example, with the launch of the Manchester China Forum, a key component of which is to improve prospects for smaller businesses in Manchester to trade and export their goods and services.

“Behind such encouraging announcements remains a drive to increase Greater Manchester’s total share of UK jobs, to increase economic growth and to reduce the number of people reliant on out-of-work benefits.

“These goals are set out clearly in the recently refreshed Greater Manchester Strategy and as such, we will be ensuring that we remain on track to achieve these in 2014 – by promoting and encouraging the kind of positive investments we’ve seen this year.”

Robert Hough, Chair of Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership:

“The investment by businesses in 2013 and the City Region’s concentration on key growth sectors such as SuperPort with the port of Liverpool expansion and activities in Offshore Wind clearly demonstrates that Liverpool City Region is an excellent place to invest and do business.

“Going forward the platform is now in place for a hugely successful International Festival for Business (IFB) taking place in the City Region. IFB is a global event which will accelerate economic growth with an ambitious programme in June and July 2014.

“For the Local Enterprise Partnership, one of our several key tasks in 2014 will be to deliver the opportunities that have been identified in our visionary Local Growth Plan.”

Frank McKenna, Chief Executive of Liverpool-based Downtown in Business:

“There are still challenges ahead for businesses in the North West, but undoubtedly confidence is returning and companies are more optimistic about the future than they have been for several years

“A combination of the macro economic improvement that we have enjoyed, combined with some regional initiatives coming to fruition through Local Enterprise Partnerships and other business support agencies, means that entrepreneurial companies with an appetite for growth are seeing 2014 as a year of real potential and opportunity.”

Michael Taylor, Chair of Downtown Manchester in Business

“The latest statistics show some encouraging signs of progress in the economy. Much has been achieved as a result of the bravery and resilience of businesses around the country.

“It is their confidence in the future of their companies that will lead the country to a sustainable recovery. However, there is still much to do in order to build on the achievements of 2013.”



BLACKPOOL – Lesley gains promotion with Blackpool Football club

Lesley Pellatt, 59, proves it’s never too late for a second successful career as she celebrates her promotion to Assistant Manager at Blackpool Football Club Hotel and Conference Centre.  Lesley took redundancy in July 2011, and never envisaged going back to work, but after her advisor at Fleetwood Jobcentre Plus referred her to a sector-based work academy to refresh her skills, she was able to secure a job at the hotel.

“I was astonished when I was selected to go on the sector-based work academy,” Lesley said.  “It was run by Blackpool and Fylde college, Jobcentre Plus, and Blackpool Football club to recruit receptionists and concierges for the new hotel.  I was pleased that Jobcentre Plus referred me to the course.”
“I got my benefits and travel costs paid during my time at the academy.  I enjoyed the course, which included hospitality training, work experience and a guaranteed job interview.  I was really pleased when I was successful, and the hotel offered me the job on reception.”

There was a five month delay in the hotel build, and Lesley spent this time working at the football club, gaining experience in event management and on reception.  She proved her commitment, ability and leadership skills and when the hotel opened in January 2012 – six months after she was made redundant – she was promoted to Head Receptionist.

There was a further step up for Lesley in October 2012 when she was made PA to the General Manager.  Then, less than two years after she was made redundant she was promoted again to Assistant Manager, responsible for the bar, reception and housekeeping.  Lesley said, “I was overjoyed when I was made Assistant Manager.  I was, of course, sad to leave my last job in Oldham as I was close to my colleagues.  I have not worked in a hotel since I was nineteen, but my career as a Facilities Manager for Oldham College gave me lots of transferable skills, and the sector-based work academy showed me how to apply them in the hospitality industry.  I looked on it as a fresh start, I have lots of life experience which comes with maturity, so I just went with it.  This all happened to me in my late fifties, proving you are never too old for a change of career!”

Sam Oyston, manager of the hotel said, “Lesley proved from the start of the sector-based working academy that she had the drive and ability to succeed.  She is an asset to Blackpool FC Hotel and Conference Centre, and we are very pleased that Jobcentre Plus referred her to us.”

LIVERPOOL – Setting up in business to blow the whistle on troublesome landlords

A Liverpool based entrepreneur has turned his bad landlord experience into a thriving new online business.

Chris Carbery launched Rent Referee earlier this year, with help from the New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) scheme. His online service advertises properties for landlords and letting agents. He also acts impartially, providing information to both tenants and landlords, so they can find more about each other before entering into a tenancy agreement.

Prior to launching the service, Chris had his own encounter with a troublesome landlord. When his tenancy agreement ended, Chris had great difficulty in getting his deposit back. Amid drawn-out proceedings, he recognised that there was little help available to protect tenants from unscrupulous property owners and set about developing an idea to combat this scenario.

Chris Carbery said: “While there were one or two forums available for landlords to warn others against certain tenants, I found nothing that allowed tenants to have their say on landlords. The concept for my site was simple enough – to house both conversations in one place, so decent tenants could find decent landlords. I also wanted to set up a community forum too, where frequently asked questions could be answered.”

Chris set up the Rent Referee website by himself, without any formal business advice, during the recession. And when he soon realised he needed some additional expertise he turned to his Jobcentre Plus personal advisor suggested that the New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) might provide the advice and training he needed.

Chris continued: “My NEA business advisor, was a great support with developing the brand. I already had the website in place, but her help in getting a decent business plan in place and advice on the legal structure of the business, was invaluable to me, as a new business owner. The training workshops were a vital help too.

“I’m only a few months into trading, but already there has been a lot of traffic to the site. I’ve even been approached by the BBC to feature in an upcoming documentary, which will be great for raising the business profile. Having ready-access to on-going support from my advisor is a great reassurance too.”

LIVERPOOL – First job in 25 years not to be sniffed at

After 25 years on the dole, 50-year-old father of five, Peter O’Hanlon, from Liverpool, is thrilled to be clearing up dog mess on the streets of his native Anfield with a specially-designed ‘Poover’ machine.

Delighted Peter insists that his job – the first he’s had since he was a young man – is not to be sniffed at.

“After all that time of not working, I am so happy to be doing an important job for the community,” said Peter.

He says his life changed when he was referred to the Work Programme, run by public service provider A4e in Liverpool.

His A4e advisor recognised that he needed to focus on his presentation, so he did a course to work on his CV and interview technique.

He said: “They also paid my bus fares to interviews, gave me work boots and overalls and the confidence to go for it.

“That prompted me to ring a woman I know to see if she had any gardening jobs. She said she didn’t but she did know of another job – but it was picking up dog dirt with a machine, did I mind?

“I said, certainly not, it’s a job that needs doing.”

He was one of 11 people interviewed for the post of Poover operator, created by local residents’ group B2 U and funded by Community First to tidy up the streets of Anfield.



BT to create 240 Liverpool jobs

The majority of the roles, being created to support the growth of the company’s high-speed broadband services, will be in customer service while there will also be some managerial roles.

Airport City Enterprise Zone

Manchester Airport Group will work with the Beijing Construction Engineering Group (BCEG) as well as the UK’s Carillion Plc. and the Greater Manchester Pension Fund, in a £650 million joint venture deal to develop the ‘Airport City’ Enterprise Zone project. The development will include offices, hotels, manufacturing firms, logistics and warehouses, and it is hoped that by attracting international businesses some 16,000 jobs could be created.

Electricity North West training academy opens

A £2 million training facility has opened in East Lancashire. The new complex in Whitebirk is to provide local job opportunities and train the next generation of technicians and engineers to maintain the region’s electricity supply. It will also deliver a £2.6 billion investment programme.

Carpet firm jobs

Rossendale-based Interfloor, the largest manufacturer of carpet underlay and flooring accessories in Europe, has invested in new equipment and extra warehouse space with the help of £150,000 through the Regional Growth Fund. The expansion has secured 175 jobs in Haslingden and created a further 61.

Chinese Trade deal

Sweet Mandarin, the Manchester-based Chinese food firm, has signed a deal worth up to £6 million to sell sauces into the Chinese market, creating up to 15 new UK jobs.

Wind power firm jobs

Engineering firm FPI North West in Birkenhead, which works in the offshore wind industry, has received cash from the Regional Growth Fund, to invest in its site and buy new machinery. It currently employs five staff and is set to create another four jobs.

Top line figures for the North West are in the table below:


Change on latest period

Change on year

Employment (Aug-Oct 2013)




ILO unemployment (Aug-Oct 2013)




Inactivity (Aug-Oct 2013)




Claimant Count (November 2013)






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