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Graduates leaving university 'behind rise in unemployment in East of England'

PUBLISHED: 09:45 16 August 2017 | UPDATED: 14:42 16 August 2017

Jobcentre Plus on Pottergate, Norwich/ Picture: James Bass

Jobcentre Plus on Pottergate, Norwich/ Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2009

Unemployment in the East of England rose by 7,000 to 128,000 in the three months to June, despite the rate of those seeking work across the country falling to its lowest since 1975.

According to Office for National Statistics figures there were 32.07 million people in work, 338,000 more than the same period last year.

The claimant count fell by 4,200 in July to 807,800, the Office for National Statistics said.

However, in the East of England unemployment grew by 7,000 to 128,000 – an unemployment rate of 4.1%.

Julia Nix, Jobcentre Plus district manager for East Anglia, said students could be partly responsible for the rise as university and college graduates joined the ranks of the economically active in July.

She added: “I don’t think this will stay with us for long because of the buoyant labour market.”

In Norfolk and Waveney the overall claimant count – those claiming jobseekers’ allowance or universal credit – was 9,975, of whom 1,760 were aged 18-24.

This is up from 7,805 in July 2016, but the ONS has said the introduction of universal credit – currently being implemented in Waveney and Yarmouth – will affect the numbers as claimants can work for more hours per week than those on JSA.

South Norfolk was the only district to see a month-on-month claimant count rise in July, from 595 to 610.

The biggest falls were in Breckland (down 7.3% to 830), Great Yarmouth (down 4% to 2,785) and Norwich (down 3.4% to 1,600).

Across the county big names such as Debenhams, Lidl, Kier and Better Healthcare were looking to hire, along with local firms the Norfolk Feather Company in Diss, Building Futures in Norwich, and insurers Adrian Flux and Foster Refrigerator in King’s Lynn.

The ONS reported that annual growth in earnings was 2.1% for the period April to June.

ONS senior labour market statistician Matt Hughes said: “The employment picture remains strong, with a new record high employment rate and another fall in the unemployment rate. Despite the strong jobs picture, however, real earnings continue to decline.

“The number of workers born elsewhere in the EU continues to increase, but the annual rate of change has slowed markedly.

“New figures on the number of workers who say they are on zero-hours contracts show a small drop on last year.”

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