Back in June, when the Salford Star was on strike for a second week, we reported that `Something is not right', as figures released by job search website Adzuna showed that Salford was the hardest place in the UK to find a job (see previous feature – click here).
At that point, there were 55 job seekers chasing every vacancy in the city, compared to 3.4 nationally. New figures from Adzuna now show that there are 72 job seekers chasing every vacancy. And this despite all the £100millions of regeneration funding poured into the city over the last few years for projects like MediaCityUK.
Meanwhile, the latest unemployment figures (to June 2013) make more horrific reading for Salford. While everywhere else in Greater Manchester is reporting annual falls in Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) figures, Salford is showing a rise.
Bury's annual JSA numbers have fallen by 12.1%, Rochdale's by 10.1% and Manchester's by 4.4%. The figures for Greater Manchester as a whole have fallen by 5.3%, the North West by 8.2% and Great Britain by 8.3%. Salford's annual JSA figures have risen by 0.6%.
Within these figures, annual female JSA rates in Salford have risen by 5.1%, while the Greater Manchester average shows a rise of only 0.3%, and the figures nationally and in the North West have fallen by 3.5%.
While the number of male JSA claimants has dropped annually by 3% in Salford, this is the worst performance in Greater Manchester where the average has dropped by almost 8%, with Bury and Rochdale recording 14% and 13% drops.
Annual long term unemployment in Salford shows a 1.4% rise, while the Greater Manchester average shows a drop of 2.2%, and, nationally almost 5%.
Even though annual youth unemployment in Salford has dropped by 12%, this is the second worst drop in Greater Manchester, and compares to over 15% locally and nationally. There has also been a small monthly rise in youth unemployment, and these figures were produced before the latest school leaver statistics were added.
Overall, the total rate of Job Seekers Allowance claimants in Salford is 5.2%, beaten only by Manchester and Oldham with 5.3%. The national rate is 3.5%.
While unemployment statistics never give a true picture, thanks to dubious methods of compilation and people with three zero hours contracts jobs a week, the comparisons with other areas do give a more or less accurate snapshot of trends. And that snapshot shows that Salford's employment record is shocking.
Add to that the Adzuna stats showing 72 job seekers chasing every vacancy, screaming that Salford is the hardest place in the country to find a job, and something is definitely not right in the city.
The question must be asked `Where has all that regeneration money gone? And who has it been helping?'
Answers on a postcard or email to Salford City Mayor Ian Stewart and George Osborne...