15,000 more job seekers in the East as unemployment rate hits 5%

A Job Centre Plus sign. Nearly 15,000 more people in the East of England have started claiming Jobseekers Allowance

Nearly 15,000 more people in the East of England have started claiming Jobseekers Allowance over the past year. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

The number of job seekers in the East of England has ballooned by more than 130% in the past 12 months, according to new figures.

A report from insurance firm Hello Safe, shows that nearly 15,000 more people in the East have started claiming Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) over the past year.

Based on ONS data compiled between December 2019 and November 2020, it shows the number of JSA claimants has gone from 10,774 to 24,972. An increase of 131.8%.

The ONS has also released new data showing that the number of payroll employees has fallen by 828,000 since February 2020.

Alongside this, the UK unemployment rate was estimated at 5.0% in the three months to November 2020.


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Experts said the government’s move to extend the furlough scheme to April has helped cushion the blow, with tax data showing nationally employees on company payrolls rose by 52,000 – or 0.2% – between November and December.

“This crisis has gone on far longer than any of us hoped — and every job lost is a tragedy,” chancellor Rishi Sunak said.

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“While the NHS is working hard to protect people with the vaccine, we’re throwing everything we’ve got at supporting businesses, individuals and families.”

Downing Street said the unemployment figures showed many people across the country are facing “difficult times”.

The prime minister’s official spokesman said: “It shows that many people across the country are facing difficult times, and we believe that every job lost as a result of this pandemic is one too many.”

Minister for employment Mims Davies added: "While there is light at the end of the tunnel with jabs already in the arms of millions and the vaccine rollout gathering pace, our Plan for Jobs is helping to protect and support livelihoods, as well as create new opportunities for those who need them.

“The number of vacancies has risen for six consecutive months, our Kickstart scheme for young people has already created more than 120,000 job placements and we have provided over £280 billion to protect incomes and livelihoods as we battle the pandemic.”

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