Suffolk/Essex: Counties see fall in Jobseeker’s Allowance claims as unemployment total eases

THE GOVERNMENT was hit with a mixed bag of unemployment data today as the headline jobless rate fell but the number of dole claimants rose.

Total unemployment dropped 51,000 to 2.61 million in the quarter to April, while the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in May rose by 8,100 on a seasonally adjusted basis to 1.6 million, ending two months of declines.

On an unadjusted basis, however, the claimant count across the UK fell by 26,141 compared with April to 1,590,708, with Suffolk and north Essex following the downward trend.

In Suffolk, the biggest falls – in each case cutting the local unemployment rate by 0.1 of a percentage point – were recorded in Ipswich, were the count fell by 55 to 4,330 (a rate of 5.1%), St Edmundsbury, down 24 to 1,720 (2.6%) and Forest Heath, down 39 to 958 (2.3%).

Smaller falls left rates unchanged in Babergh, down 22 to 1,276 (2.5%), Mid Suffolk, down 29 to 1,217 (2.1%), Suffolk Coastal, down 29 to 1,459 (2.0%) and Waveney, down 26 to 3,050 (4.4%).

The biggest fall in north and mid Essex came in Tendring where the count fell by 145 compared with April to 3,407 and the rate by 0.2% to 4.0%.

Elsewhere, smaller falls saw rates ease by 0.1%, including Braintree, down 55 to 2,554 (2.8%), Chelmsford, down 62 to 2,932 (2.6%), Colchester, down 143 to 3,290 (2.7%), Maldon, down 34 to 915 (2.3%) and Uttlesford, down 22 to 729 (1.5%).

Most Read

Nationally, the number of people in work saw its biggest increase since the quarter to August 2010 as the employment rate increased by 166,000 to almost 29.28 million, nearly equally split between full and part-time workers.

Almost eight million people are now in a part-time job, while those working part-time because they cannot find full-time work increased by 25,000 to 1.4 million.

Self-employment has reached a record figure of 4.17 million, up by 84,000 since the previous quarter.

Average earnings increased by 1.4% in the year to April, up by 0.5 percentage points on the previous month due to the timing of bonuses.

Average weekly pay in private firms in April was �5 higher at �465 compared to a year ago.

But other figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that the number of people unemployed for more than a year increased by 85,000 to 886,000. The number of people unemployed for more than two years rose by 29,000 to 434,000.

Youth unemployment has also fallen, down by 29,000 over the latest quarter to 1.01 million.

There were 9.23 million people classed as economically-inactive in the three months to April, a fall of 69,000, mainly due to a reduction in the number of students.

The UK’s unemployment rate has fallen by 0.2 percentage points to 8.2%, lower than the European average of 10.3%. Spain has the highest unemployment rate in the EU at 24.3%, while Austria has the lowest at 3.9%.