Economy: Claimant count unemployment falls below 1m for first time since 2008

Unemployment in the UK has fallen below 2million, according to new figures published today.

Unemployment in the UK has fallen below 2million, according to new figures published today. - Credit: PA

The number of people claiming the Jobseeker’s Allowance has fallen below one million for the first time in six years, new figures showed today.

The claimant count fell for the 22nd month in a row in August by 37,200 to 966,500 on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

This is the first time the figure has been below one million since September 2008.

Total unemployment fell to 2.02million in the quarter to July, down by 146,000 on February to April, giving a lower-than-expected unemployment rate of 6.2%, against the 6.3% forecast by analysts.

The jobless total is now 468,000 fewer than a year earlier, representingthe largest annual fall in unemployment since 1988.

There are now 30.61 million people in work, 74,000 more than February to April, although thi is the smallest quarterly increase since April to June 2013.

Average earnings including bonuses rose by 0.6% in the year to July, while average earnings excluding bonuses were 0.7% higher.

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The unadjusted claimant count, which dipped below 1m in July, fell by a further 34,000 last month to around 961,000, with most parts of Suffolk and north Essex following the downward trend.

The biggest falls came in the Waveney and Tendring districts, helped by the arrival of the peak summer tourism season. The count in Waveney fell by 170 to 1,412 and the unemployment rate by 0.3 of a percentage point to 2.1% while in Tendring the figure fell by 155 to 1,980 and the rate by 0.2% to 2.6%.

Jobless rates also fell, by 0.1% in each case, in Ipswich, where the count was 96 lower at 2,384 (representing a rate of 2.7%), and Forest Heath, down 17 at 372 (0.9%).

Smaller falls, relative to the size of the workforce, left rates unchanged in Babergh, where the count fell by 19 to 611 (1.2%), St Edmundsbury, down nine to 820 (1.2%), and Suffolk Coastal, down 27 to 571 (0.8%). Mid Suffolk bucked the trend with the count rising by 46 to 614 although this still left the rate unchanged at 1.0%.

It was a similar picture in north and mid Essex, with the jobless rates remaining unchanged in Braintree, where the count fell by 54 to 1,384 (representing a rate of 1.5%), Chelmsford, down 10 to 1,599 (1.5%), Colchester, down 39 to 1,711 (1.5%), and Maldon, down six to 445 (1.2%).

In Uttlesford, however, the count edged seven higher to 347, with the rate unchanged at 0.7%.