Jobless count edges downwards

UNEMPLOYMENT edged downwards in most parts of Suffolk and north Essex last month - in line with the national total which fell for the eighth month running.

UNEMPLOYMENT edged downwards in most parts of Suffolk and north Essex last month - in line with the national total which fell for the eighth month running.

The number of people across the UK eligible for the Jobseeker's Allowance fell by 9,300 compared with April to 880,400.

The figure has now fallen for 10 of the past 11 months, with the current run of eight consecutive monthly falls representing the longest continual reduction since the period of 20 successive falls between the summer of 2003 and early 2005.

The total number of people out of work, including those not eligible for benefit, also fell by 15,000 during the three months to April to 1.68million.


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This figure is still 58,000 higher than a year ago, in contrast with the claimant count which is down by 71,500 on the year and at its lowest level since September 2005.

Further gloss was taken off the figures by a reduction of 10,000 in the number of people in work during the quarter to April, including a fall in manufacturing jobs to a record low of 2.96million.

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And yesterday's data from the Office of National Statistics also showed a jump in the number of people classed as “economically inactive” - such as students, those looking after a relative, workings who have taken early retirement or who have given up looking for a job - which grew by 77,000 during the quarter to 7.95 million, the highest figure since comparable records began in 1971.

Locally, all but one district in Suffolk and north and mid Essex saw a fall in the claimant count last month.

The biggest fall was in Waveney where the count fell by 143 to 2,187 and the unemployment rate by 0.2 of a percentage point to 3.4%. There were also falls of 0.1% in the rate in Colchester, where the count fell by 74 to 1,786 (a rate of 1.7%), Tendring, down 88 to 2,031 (2.7%) and Uttlesford, down 21 to 354 (0.8%).

Smaller falls left the rate unchanged in Babergh, down 11 to 629 (1.3%); Braintree, down 40 to 1,337 (1.6%); Chelmsford, down 50 to 1,484 (1.5%); Forest Heath, down 10 to 411 (1.0%); Maldon, down three to 582 (1.6%); Mid Suffolk, down seven to 600 (1.1%); St Edmundsbury, down 12 to 970 (1.6%) and Suffolk Coastal, down 47 to 713 (1.1%).

The only exception was Ipswich, where the count increased by 32 to 2,420, although this still left the unemployment rate unchanged at 3.3%.

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