More than 100 more workers were on company payrolls in Barrow last month than before the coronavirus pandemic, new figures show.

Office for National Statistics figures show 30,819 people in Barrow were on company payrolls in February.

This was up from 30,690 in February 2020, before the pandemic, and 839 more than in the same month last year, when 29,980 people were on payrolls.

The number of workers on UK payrolls increased by 275,000 month-on-month, to 29.7 million.

Different ONS figures show average earnings, excluding bonuses, rose by 3.8 per cent in the three months to January.

But they failed to keep up with price increases due to record inflation that month, meaning they fell by one per cent in real terms – the steepest decline seen since July 2014.

In April, bills are expected to rise by more than 50 per cent for the average household when the energy price cap rises.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak acknowledged concerns over the rising cost of living ahead of his spring statement on March 23 but said the labour market is in a strong position.

Mr Sunak said: "Thanks to the unprecedented economic support we've provided, we've now seen a year of falling unemployment and a stronger jobs market bounce back than so many predicted.

"I am confident that our labour market is in a good position to deal with the current global challenges, with payrolled employee numbers above pre-pandemic levels in every nation and region and redundancies at record lows."

However, the Government has faced criticism over the level of support it has offered.

Frances O'Grady, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, said working people deserve financial security and a wage they can live on.

"We need a plan to get wages rising in all jobs, a boost to Universal Credit, and a windfall tax on oil and gas profits – with the money raised going to energy grants for hard-pressed families," she said.

While rising costs have seen real wages fall, the UK unemployment rate reached its lowest point since before the pandemic, falling to 3.9 per cent in the three months to January.

In the North West, the unemployment rate was 4.5 per cent, up from 3.7 per cent in the same period last year.