Employment total hits a new record

Unemployment increased by 10,000 in the quarter to August to 1.66 million, official figures showed t

Unemployment increased by 10,000 in the quarter to August to 1.66 million, official figures showed today. Photo: Philip Toscano/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Unemployment has increased for the first time in eight months, despite the number of people in work reaching a new record level.

The jobless total grew by 10,000 in the three months to August to 1.66m, the first increase since the quarter to February this year, while the narrower count of those eligible to claim the Jobseeker’s Allowance rose on a seasonally adjusted basis by 700 to 776,400 in September, the sixth increase in the last seven months.

However, employment in the quarter to August grew to just short of 32m, the highest figure since records began in 1971, with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) noting that the statistics cover two months after the EU referendum result.

ONS statistician Nick Palmer said: “These figures show that employment continued to grow over the summer and vacancies remain at high levels, suggesting continuing confidence in the economy.

“While there was also a small rise in the headline unemployment level, that was accompanied by more people actively seeking work.”

At local level, where the claimant count figures are not adjusted for normal seasonal variations, most parts of Suffolk and north Essex saw a further fall last month – in line with the national trend in the unadjusted total which fell by nearly 17,000 to 536,217, representing a jobless rate of 1.3%

In Suffolk, jobless rates eased by 0.1 of a percentage point in Ipswich, where the count fell by 89 to 1,392 (a rate of 1.6%), Waveney, down 75 to 542 (0.8%), and Babergh, down seven to 329 (0.6%).

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Rates remained unchanged in Mid Suffolk, down 32 to 325 (0.6%), St Edmundsbury, down 24 to 449 (0.7%), and Forest Heath, down eight to 185 (0.5%) although in Suffolk Coastal the count rose by 17 to 327 and the count by 0.1 of a point to 0.5%.

It was a similar picture in north and mid Essex, where the jobless rate in Braintree fell by 0.1 to 0.8%, as the claimant count dipped by 40 to 762, while rates elsewhere remained unchanged.

This include falls in the claimant count in Colchester, down 59 to 1,038 (0.9%), Tendring, down 23 to 1,417 (1.9%), Uttlesford, down nine to 185 (0.4%) and Chelmsford, down four to 844 (0.8%).

The count in Maldon edged higher by four to 226, but the rate also remained unchanged at 0.6%.