East’s jobless numbers fall as UK earnings rise ‘modestly’, figures reveal

A job centre. Photo: PA Archive

A job centre. Photo: PA Archive - Credit: PA

Unemployment across the eastern region fell by 7,000 between March and May as the number of people in work across the UK reached new record levels.

Jobless numbers in the east stood at 111,000, with the unemployment rate standing at 3.5%, with earnings across the country up “modestly” on the year, according to the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures.

Across Suffolk and Essex, not seasonally-adjusted figures show an unemployment rate of 3.7% for both counties over the period April 2017 to March 2018.

In Suffolk, the claimant count was 6,665, with the Babergh count 452, Forest Heath 337, Ipswich 1,774, Mid Suffolk 465, St Edmundsbury 820, Suffolk Coastal 484 and Waveney 2,332.

In Essex, there were 11,878 claimants overall, with 1,013 in Braintree, 1,384 in Colchester, Tendring, 2,120 and Uttlesford 263.

Across the UK, employment increased by 137,000 in the quarter to May to 32.4m, the highest figure since records began in 1971, giving a record rate of 75.7%.

Job vacancies increased by 7,000 to 824,000 - the most since records began in 2001.

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Unemployment fell by 12,000 to 1.41m, giving a jobless rate of 4.2%, the joint lowest for more than 30 years, according to the ONS.

Average earnings increased by 2.5% in the year to May, compared with 2.4% the previous month.

Matt Hughes, senior ONS statistician, said: “We’ve had yet another record employment rate, while the number of job vacancies is also a new record.

“From this it’s clear that the labour market is still growing strongly. meanwhile, real earnings remain modestly up on the year, both including and exclusing bonuses.”

The number of people classed as economically inactive, including students, those on long-term sick leave, early retirement or who have given up looking for work, fell by 86,000 to 8.6 million, giving a rate of 21%, a record low.

The claimant count, which includes people on Jobseeker’s Allowance and the unemployment element of Universal Credit increased by 7,800 last month to 898,700, around 97,000 more than a year ago.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Esther McVey said: “The employment rate is now at a record high at 75.7%.”