Jobless numbers in east fall as number in work remains at record high

Employment continues at record levels, according to ONS figures. Picture: DANNY LAWSON/PA WIRE

Employment continues at record levels, according to ONS figures. Picture: DANNY LAWSON/PA WIRE - Credit: PA

The East of England saw unemployment fall by 16,000 between February and April as the number of people in work across the UK remained at record levels.

The total unemployed across the region stood at 116,000, and the unemployment rate was 3.6%, according to the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures.

Earnings grew slightly faster than inflation, as employment across the UK increased by 146,000 in the quarter to April to 32.39 million, the highest figure since records began in 1971, giving a record rate of 75.6%.

Nationally, unemployment fell by 38,000 to 1.42 million, giving a jobless rate of 4.2%, the lowest since 1975.

Average earnings increased by 2.5% in the year to April, down by 0.1% on the previous month, but 0.3% up on a year ago. The latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation figure is 2.4%.

Senior ONS statistician David Freeman said: “Employment has continued to rise, while the unemployment rate remained at its lowest for over 40 years.

“Wages, both including and excluding bonuses, are continuing to increase, and slightly faster than inflation.”

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The number of people classed as economically inactive, including students, those on long-term sick leave, taken early retirement or who have given up looking for work, fell by 72,000 to 8.6 million in the latest quarter, 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, fell by 7,700 last month to 886,000, around 90,000 more than a year ago. Meanwhile, job vacancies increased by 2,000 to 818,000.

The number of self-employed workers increased by 34,000 to 4.8 million, although the figure is only 9,000 higher than a year ago.

Other figures showed that 16.5% of total UK employment was in the public sector, the lowest proportion since comparable records began in 1999, with 83.5% of people working in private firms.

There were 5.36 million people employed in the public sector in March, 10,000 more than in December last year, mainly because of increases in public administration and the Civil Service.

Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey said: “It’s a Great British success story, with businesses from Exeter to Edinburgh creating jobs, helping, on average, 1,000 people find a job each and every day since 2010.”