Official data shows 11% fall in 18-24-year-olds in Merseyside claiming benefits

Figures from the Office for National Statistics suggests more young people locally are finding work despite the overall claimant count rising year-on-year. Tony McDonough reports

UK employment is the highest it has been for more than 40 years


Numbers of people aged 18-24 claiming benefits for being out of work has fallen by an average of 11% across Merseyside over the past year, new figures show.

But the official data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows the number of people claiming out-of-work benefits overall in Liverpool, Wirral, Knowsley, Sefton and St Helens overall has risen 4% to 27,255 since October 2016.

The gradual roll-out of universal credit across the UK makes comparing year-on-year figures tricky and a spokesman for the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) in Merseyside insists the overall picture is positive with growth in full-time permanent positions.

Clive Morris told YBNews said DWP staff are in regular contact with employers with one reporting there were “consistent signs of positive investment taking place across the city region”.

He added: “In recent weeks, for example, hundreds of people have been taken on in Wirral call centres ahead of rising retail demand caused by Black Friday. Call centres are a big growth sector in Wirral.

“In the South Liverpool and St Helens areas were are seeing an increase in recruitment in the warehousing and logistics sector. And the growth of retails parks in Liverpool is leading to an increase in jobs in retail and hospitality.”

Full claimant figures for Merseyside: Liverpool (11,565, up 6%), Wirral (4,235, up 7%), Knowsley (3,200, up 5%), Sefton (4,105, up 1%) and St Helens showed the only fall in claimants, down 2% to 3,045.

Across the North West there are 90,000 more people in work than a year ago and across the UK employment levels remain at their highest levels for more than 40 years.

However, earnings fell 0.5% in real terms for the seventh consecutive month once inflation was taken into account.

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