Jobless figures ‘a warning sign’

Rising unemployment figures in the North West have been flagged up as a “warning sign” for the region.

Unemployment has increased by 31,000 over the last quarter – with the largest rise in the North West, where it rose by 21,000 between April and June.

Damian Waters, North West director of the CBI, said: “These figures are a warning sign.

“The fundamentals of our region’s economy are strong, but these figures should give people pause for reflection.

“The government must act to help businesses employ more people and grow our region’s economy.

“That’s not just boosting vital infrastructure: it’s also highlighting the importance of investing in training, together with a new immigration system allowing them access to workers they need to succeed.”

The GMB union has also sounded alarm bells. It highlights a report from the University of Leuven in Belgium, which anticipates 525,000 UK job losses if the UK leaves EU without a deal.

Neil Foster, national research and policy officer for the union, said: “The rising unemployment figures add to the perilous state of the UK economy – jobs are being lost, the value of the pound is falling, our economy is contracting and the risk of recession grows every day.

The government must act to help businesses employ more people and grow our region’s economy.

“More and more people are worried about their livelihoods and their future. Rather than provide a convincing plan to avoid disaster, this Tory Government is pouring petrol on the flames with its reckless approach to Brexit.”

He added: “The rise in unemployment today would be a drop in the ocean compared to the economic destruction of crashing out of the EU with no deal.”

However, official figures also show that wage growth in the UK reached an 11-year high in the year to June, and the employment rate was its joint highest since 1971.

Wage growth rose to 3.9 per cent, while the estimated 76.1 per cent employment rate was the best since comparative records began.

Overall, a record high of 32.81 million people were in employment, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

That figure is 425,000 more than the previous year and according to reports was largely because of more people working full-time.

Chancellor Sajid Javid said: “Every person deserves the chance to succeed and provide for their families through a steady income.

“Today’s figures are another sign that despite the challenges across the global economy, the fundamentals of the British economy are strong as we prepare to leave the EU.”

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