Jobless count rises again

THE number of people claiming unemployment benefit rose at the sharpest rate for more than 15 years last month, official figures revealed yesterday. The Jobseeker's Allowance claimant count rose by 15,500 in June to 840,100- the biggest monthly increase since December 1992.

THE number of people claiming unemployment benefit rose at the sharpest rate for more than 15 years last month, official figures revealed yesterday.

The Jobseeker's Allowance claimant count rose by 15,500 in June to 840,100- the biggest monthly increase since December 1992.

It represented the fifth consecutive monthly increase and was far worse than the 10,000 expected by economists.

The month-on-month increase would have been even greater but for the ONS revising upwards the figure for May, representing a rise of 14,300 compared with 9,000 as originally announced.

With the claimant count data at local level not being adjusted for seasonal variations, the figures for Suffolk and north Essex mainly showed a decline last month as a result of the normal increase in summer employment.

However, five districts did see an increase in the count and the falls elsewhere were smaller than usual.

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The biggest increases - raising the local unemployment rate by 0.1 of a percentage point in each case - came in Ipswich, where the count rose by 34 to 2,292 (representing a rate of 3.1%) and Babergh, up 15 to 582 (1.2%).

Smaller increases left the rates unchanged in Mid Suffolk, up eight to 587 (1.1%), St Edmundsbury, up six to 967 (1.6%) and Suffolk Coastal, up 10 to 680 (1.0%).

Most other parts of Suffolk and north Essex saw slight falls in the claimant account, smaller than usual for the time of year and also leaving the unemployment rate unchanged.

This included Braintree, down 17 to 1,209 (1.4%), Chelmsford, down four to 1,239 (1.2%), Colchester, down 37 to 1,742 (1.6%), Forest Heath, down 25 to 387 (1.0%), Maldon, down 21 to 443 (1.2%), Tendring, down 40 to 1,917 (2.5%) and Uttlesford, down three to 332 (0.8%).

The exception was Waveney where the rate declined by 0.1% following a fall of 28 in the claimant count to 1,870.