Jobless claimants double across Suffolk and Essex as crisis takes toll

PUBLISHED: 11:57 19 May 2020 | UPDATED: 11:57 19 May 2020

The claimant count across Suffolk and Essex has doubled  Picture: DANNY LAWSON/PA

The claimant count across Suffolk and Essex has doubled Picture: DANNY LAWSON/PA


Suffolk and Essex’s jobless claims have doubled in the last year – with a huge leap in figures after the coronavirus crisis, according to government statisticians.

Raw figures for the two counties – which aren’t seasonally adjusted – show that claimant counts for Suffolk have leapt by 9,540 claims since April 2019 to a total of 18,920 in April 2020.

Meanwhile, Essex saw a whopping 21,075 increase to stand at 39,305.

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Claimant figures have been creeping up steadily as Jobseekers’ Allowance claims morph into Universal Credit, but March to April saw a massive jump across the UK.

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) said unemployment claims under Universal Credit surged by 856,000 in the month from March to 2.1m.

UK jobless claims soared by more than 69% in April – despite the introduction of the government’s furlough scheme, its seasonally-adjusted figures reveal.

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The ONS doesn’t do a regional or local seasonally-adjusted breakdown, but all districts of Suffolk and north Essex have seen big rises year-on-year.

Babergh’s claimant count in April 2020 stood at 2,050, a rise of 1,245. East Suffolk has 6,405 claimants (3,050 up), Ipswich 4,885 (2,220), Mid Suffolk 1,780 (995), and West Suffolk 3,805 (2,025).

In Essex, Colchester saw a big rise of 2,760 to stand at 4,980 claimants, Braintee has 3,995 claimants (2,285 increase), Tendring 6,045 (2,915), and Uttlesford 1,345 (840).

Early estimates for April 2020 across the UK indicate the number of paid employees fell by 1.6% compared to March, as firms began to feel a greater impact from the lockdown.

At the same time, the number of UK job vacancies also fell dramatically, with the empty posts in the three months to April diving by 170,000 to 637,000, compared to the previous quarter.

Unemployment rose by 50,000 to 1.35 million in the three months to March, the ONS said, as the impact of the pandemic first started to be felt in the UK.

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