Record employment pushes jobless total to a seven-year low

Unemployment has fallen to a new seven-year low, according to official figures.

Unemployment has fallen to a new seven-year low, according to official figures. - Credit: PA

Unemployment has fallen to its lowest level in more than seven years while the number of people in work has reached another record high, according to official figures.

Total unemployment fell by 102,000 compared with the previous quarter in the three months to September to 1.75million, data from the Office for National Statistics showed.

And a record 31.2m people were in employment during the period, an increase of 177.000 compared with the previous three months.

The narrower count of those eligible to claim the Jobseeker’s Allowance or the unemployment element of the new Universal Credit rose for the third month in a row, on a seasonally adjusted basis, to 795,000.

On an unadjusted basis, however, the claimant count was also down and this trend was reflected in local figures in Suffolk and north Essex.

The biggest falls in Suffolk, cutting the local unemployment rates by 0.1 of a percentage point, were in Ipswich, down 63 to 1,753 (a rate of 2.0%), Mid Suffolk, down 32 to 418 (0.7%), Waveney, down 25 to 952 (1.4%), and Forest Heath, down 18 to 246 (0.6%).

Smaller falls left the rates unchanged in Babergh, down five to 369 (0.7%), St Edmundsbury, down four to 516 (0.8%), and Suffolk Coastal, down six to 313 (0.4%).

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In north and mid Essex, there were 0.1% falls in the rate in Chelmsford, down 93 to 1,149 (1.1%), and Braintree, down 34 to 1,060 (also 1.1%).

Rates remained unchanged in Colchester, down 16 to 1,128 (1.0%), Tendring, down nine to 1,583 (2.1%), Maldon, down 24 to 322 (0.9%), and Uttlesford, down 30 to 243 (0.5%).

ONS statistician Nick Palmer said: “These figures continue the recent strengthening trend in the labour market, with a new record high in the employment rate and the unemployment rate still at its lowest level since spring 2008.”

Average earnings rose by 2.5% in the year to September, although this was 0.3% down on the the previous month’s rolling annual figure.