New figures reveal rise in unemployment across East of England
PUBLISHED: 15:22 14 May 2019 | UPDATED: 16:04 14 May 2019
Unemployment has risen across the East of England despite near-record levels of employment elsewhere in the UK, new figures have revealed.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported employment across the UK had jumped by 99,000, to 32.7m during the three months leading to March.
This is the third highest national total since records began in 1971.
However, in contrast to the national trend the East of England has experienced a growth in unemployment, rising 4,000 to 94,000 during the same period.
This means the region's unemployment rate currently stands at 2.9%.
It is one of only two regions to experience the rise - with the South East reporting a 7,000 increase in unemployment to 151,000.
Across the UK unemployment fell by 65,000 to 1.3 million, continuing a general trend which started in early 2012.
And the UK's unemployment rate of 3.8% is now lower than at any time since the end of 1974.
There are 14.8m people employed in higher skilled roles - a boost of 2.6m since 2010 and accounting for 75% of the growth in employment.
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The figures also revealed that despite Brexit the number of EU national working in the UK in the first quarter of the year has reached a record high of 2.38m.
Since the EU referendum in June 2016 the number of EU nationals working in this country has actually increased by 237,000.
Alok Sharma, employment minister, said: "Rising wages and booming higher-skilled employment means better prospects for thousands of families, and with youth employment halving since 2010, we are creating opportunities for all generations.
"We now need to shift some of the focus to up-skilling people and supporting them into roles with real career progression to create a modern workforce fit for the challenges of the 21st century."
The UK's employment rate of 76% is at a joint record high, while for women it has reached the highest on record at 71%.
The increase is partly due to changes in the state pension age for women resulting in fewer retiring between the ages of 60 and 65, the ONS said.
Mike Amesbury, shadow employment minister, said: "Average wages are still below the level they were a decade ago."