Suffolk/Essex: Official data reveals further fall in jobless totals

THE Olympics are thought to have helped drive a further fall in UK unemployment by contributing to another leap in the number of people in work.

Total unemployment fell by 7,000 in the quarter to July to 2.59million, official figures from the Office for National Statistics revealed today.

And the narrower count of those eligible for the Jobseeker’s Allowance fell last month by 15,000 compared with July to 1.57million, the biggest monthly fall since June 2010.

London accounted for 5,500 of the fall in the claimant count, suggesting a jobs boost from the Games which ran from July 27 to August 12.

The number of people in work increased by 236,000 to 29.6million, the largest quarterly rise for two years, with London accounting for 91,000 of the increase.

However, the figures also show that the number of Britons working part-time because they could not find a full-time job hit a record high of 1.42million.

Most parts of Suffolk and north Essex followed the national downward trend in the claimant count, with the countywide total falling by 141 in Suffolk to 13,348 and by 223 in Essex to 25,621.

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In Suffolk, the biggest falls, in each case cutting the local unemployment rate by 0.1 of a percentage point, were in Ipswich, where the count fell by 71 to 4,161 (a rate of 4.9%), Forest Heath, down 37 to 867 (2.1%) and Waveney, down 29 to 2,886 (4.1%).

In Suffolk Coastal, a fall of 29 to 1,329 left the rate unchanged at 1.8% while small increases in Mid Suffolk, up seven to 1,178, and St Edmundsbury, up three to 1,667, also left the rates unchanged at 2.0% and 2.6% respectively.

Around north and mid Essex, there were 0.1% falls in the rate in Tendring, down 78 to 3,209 (3.8%), and Chelmsford, down 33 to 2,794 (2.5%), while relatively smaller falls left rates unchanged in Colchester, down 18 to 3,299 (2.7%), and Braintree, down 43 to 2,522 (2.8%).

Small increases in Uttlesford, up five to 711, and Maldon, up three to 866, left the local rates unchanged at 1.2% and 2.2% respectively.

John Walker, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said the continued fall in unemployment was good news, but that for the economy to recover at a faster pace more people need to find full-time work.

He added: “Policies targeted at stimulating job creation, such as extending the National Insurance contributions holiday, are needed to give small firms the confidence to create full-time positions and take on staff.”

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said the Government needed a long term plan of job creation to ease the UK’s economic woes.

He said: “For families suffering the misery of unemployment, any decrease will be welcome news, but it is clear when you look at the bigger economic picture that any talk of growth is premature.”