Jobless totals rise in Suffolk and north Essex despite record employment

The number of people claiming unemployment-related benefits grew last month, despite UK employment r

The number of people claiming unemployment-related benefits grew last month, despite UK employment reaching a new record. Photo: Philip Toscano/PA Wire - Credit: PA

The number of people in work across the UK has reached another record high but the number of people claiming unemployment-related benefits has also increased.

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that there were just over 32.2m people in employment in the three months to November, up 102,000 on the previous quarter and the biggest total since records began in 1971.

This leaves the UK’s employment rate at a joint record high of 75.3%, with the total number of people out of work having fallen by 3,000 over the quarter to 1.44m - 160,000 lower compared with a year ago.

The narrower count of those out of work and eligible for the Jobseeker’s Allowance or the unemployment element of Universal Credit, increased by 8,600 last month to 832,500.

However, the ONS cautioned that the claimant count may be providing a misleading representation of changes in the labour market due to the impact of the roll-out of Universal Credit.

In line with the national trend, claimant counts grew in most parts of Suffolk and north Essex, with coastal areas again worst affected as the tourism season wound down.

Waveney saw the biggest increase in Suffolk, with the count rising by 80 to 2,400 and the local jobless ate by 0.2 of a percentage point to 3.7%.

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Most other parts of the county saw increases of 0.1, including Babergh, up 40 to 440 (0.9%), Forest Heath, up 45 to 330 (0.8%), Mid Suffolk, up 10 to 450 (0.8%), and St Edmundsbury, up 50 to 810 (1.2%). However, smaller rises left the rates unchanged in Ipswich, up 10 to 1,710 (2.0%), and Suffolk Coastal, up 15 to 490 (0.7%).

Tendring saw the biggest increase in north and mid Essex, with the count rising by 95 to 2,125 and the rate by 0.1 to 2.7%, and there was also a 0.1 increase in Braintree, up 45 to 980 (1.1%).

Smaller increases left rates unchanged in Maldon, up 15 to 355 (0.9%), and Uttlesford, up five to 260 (0.5%).

And there was also no change in the jobless rates in Chelmsford, where the count remained unchanged at 1,160 (1.1%), and in Colchester where the total fell by 25 to 1,340 (also 1.1%).

The ONS figures show that average UK earnings increased by 2.5% in the year to November, unchanged from the previous month and still below the rate of inflation.