Suffolk and Essex follow national trend as UK unemployment falls to seven-year low

The UK's unemployment total has fallen to a seven-year low, official figures showed today.

The UK's unemployment total has fallen to a seven-year low, official figures showed today. - Credit: PA

The new Government received good news on the jobs front today as unemployment continued to fall while the number of people in work reached a new record.

Official data showed that total unemployment dipped to a seven-year low of 1.83million in the three months to March, although the quarterly fall of 35,000 was the smallest for almost two years.

The narrower count of those eligible to claim the Jobseeker’s Allowance fell by 12,600 in April to 763,000, the 30th consecutive monthly reduction.

The claimant count has fallen by around 350,000 in the past year, although last month’s 12,600 was the smallest fall since March 2013.

Employment continued to rise, up by 202,000 in the three months to March to more than 31m, the highest since records began in 1971.

Average earnings increased by 1.9% in the year to March, up from 1.7% the previous month, giving an average weekly wage of £489.

Other data from the Office for National Statistics showed that long-term unemployment (those out of work by more than a year) fell by 50,000 in the quarter to March to 588,000.

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However, the number of people working part-time because they cannot find a full-time job increased by 8,000 in the latest quarter to 1.32m.

All districts in Suffolk and north Essex followed the downward trend in the claimant count although, unlike the national figure, the local totals are not adjusted for normal seasonal variations.

The biggest fall in Suffolk came in the Waveney district, where the build-up to the new tourism season saw the claimant count fall by 133 to 1,206 and the local unemployment rate by 0.2 of a percentage point to 1.8%.

Jobless rates fell by 0.1 in Ipswich, where the count fell by 60 to 1,998 (a rate of 2.3%), Suffolk Coastal, down 33 to 461 (0.6%), Mid Suffolk, down 28 to 479 (0.8%), and St Edmundsbury, down 27 to 696 (1.0%).

Smaller falls left the rates unchanged in Babergh, down 18 to 442 (0.9%), and Forest Heath, down 13 to 320 (0.8%).

It was a similar picture in north and mid Essex with the biggest fall seen in Tendring, where the count fell by 102 to 2,010 and the rate by 0.2 to 2.6%, followed by Braintree, with a fall of 79 to 1,155, cuttiing the rate by 0.1 to 1.2%.

Smaller changes elsewhere left jobless rates unchanged in Colchester, down 65 to 1,362 (1.2%), Maldon, down 30 to 398 (1.1%), Uttlesford, down 14 to 298 (0.6%), and Chelmsford, down three to 1,432 (1.3%).