Isle of Man unemployment at highest level since 1996

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The unemployment rate in the Isle of Man has hit its highest level in more than 17 years, with 1,181 people in receipt of job seekers allowance.

Treasury statistics put the island's current unemployment rate at 2.6%.

The last time the Manx unemployment rate was higher, was in August 1996, when the figure reached 1,211.

Treasury Minister Eddie Teare said: "We must remember, our unemployment still compares extremely favourably with figures from other countries."

In Jersey at the end of January the States Statistics Unit showed 2,020 people were registered as "actively seeking work".

The latest figures (October -December 2012) from the Office of National Statistics show UK unemployment to stand at 7.8%.

He added: "Given the comparison, we are not too despondent here on the island but we are committed to reducing the number of those in long-term unemployment by half during the next few years.

"Those people who have been out of work from more than 12 months will be given the chance to retrain, work on interview technique and develop their curriculum vitae - all things which will help them back into the workplace."

Treasury statistics show that while 1,181 people are registered as unemployed, there were still more than 300 jobs being advertised at the job centre.

"They may not all be the kind of jobs people are immediately attracted to but we have to manage people's expectations. We can't all be brain surgeons," added Mr Teare.

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