Employment levels in East above national average

General view of the Job Centre Plus on Benalder St in Glasgow, as figures released today show that u

Employment levels in the East of England are above the national average - Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Employment levels in the East of England are above average — but one in five working age people are not in work.

Data published this week by the Office for National Statistics and the Department for Work and Pensions showed that the claimant count was returning to pre-pandemic levels as job postings continues to rise.

In the East of England the employment rate now stands at 78% between the ages of 16 and 64 for the time period of January to March this year.

This is up 1% from the previous three months.

Conversely unemployment is also falling at 3.9% - down 0.6% for the previous time frame, according to the ONS.

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Both figures put the East of England ahead of the UK average which sees employment at 75.2% and the unemployment rate at 4.8%.

And for those who remain unemployed new jobs are being posted daily, said Shaun Sadler, district operations leader for the DWP in the East Anglia district.

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He said: "The month before last we had 1,800 jobs posted on our site - now we have 2,500. That's across a lot of readily accessible sectors - retail, hospitality, catering.

"We're also seeing changes in the way people are hiring. No longer are we seeing people going through lengthy processes of putting together CVs, aptitude tests, and so on. Instead we're seeing them having a phone call or workshop and are getting hired after a few conversations - people are coming away with a job on the same day as they applied.

"We're also seeing more flexibility within the workforce. Jobseekers are more comfortable crossing county lines now than they were previously because they feel more comfortable using public transport. They're keener on going into a specific career path and they're willing to travel for it if it means doing what they're passionate about."

The number of Universal Credit claimants has risen in all areas of Suffolk, however. The largest change came in West Suffolk where the number of claimants rose 1.5% in the latest figures. In every other area of the county the number of claimants grew by around 1%.

Minister for employment, Mims Davies, said: “A continued fall in unemployment, a further rise in vacancies, and growth in the employment rate is welcome news as we continue on our roadmap to recovery.

“While there is more to do to make sure we support jobseekers over the coming months, these figures highlight the resilience of our jobs market and ability for employers to adapt – and through our Plan for Jobs we’re continuing to create new opportunities for people right across the country."

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