Suffolk/ Essex: Unemployment followed national downward trend in September

THE number of people in work has reached a record high, according to new data released today, although more than ever before are in part-time jobs.

Employment grew in the quarter to August by 212,000 to 29.59million, the highest since records began in 1971, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed, while total unemployment fell by 50,000 over the same period to 2.53million, the lowest since the spring.

The narrower count of those eligible to claim the Jobseeker’s Allowance fell by 4,000 in September to 1.57million, the third consecutive monthly fall and the lowest total since July 2011, with most parts of Suffolk and north Essex following the downward trend.

St Edmundsbury was the only part of Suffolk to see a fall in the overall unemployment rate, with the claimant count falling by 22 to 1,645 and the rate by 0.1 of a percentage point to 2.5%.

However, smaller falls relative to the size of the local workforce, leaving the rate unchanged in each case, were recorded in Ipswich, down 40 to 4,121 (a rate of 4.9%), Mid Suffolk, down 24 to 1,154 (2.0%), and Suffolk Coastal, also down 24 to 1,305 (1.8%).

However, Waveney bucked the downward trend, with the claimant count rising by 46 to 2,932 and the rate by 0.1% to 4.2%.

The count also edged higher in Babergh, up 28 to 1,288, and Forest Heath, up 20 to 887, although in both cases the rate remained unchanged, at 2.5% and 2.1% respectively.

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In Essex, Tendring also bucked the national trend, with the count rising by 22 to 3,231, although the rate remained unchanged at 3.8%.

Relatively small falls also left the rate unchanged in Chelmsford, down 61 to 2,733 (2.5%) and Uttlesford, down seven to 704 (1.5%).

However, 0.1% falls in the unemployment rate were seen in Braintree, down 20 to 2,502 (2.7%), Colchester, down 94 to 3,205 (2.6%), and Maldon, down 22 to 844 (2.1%).

Nationally, the ONS added today that part-time employment increased by 125,000 between March and May to a record high of 8.13million. And the number of people in part-time jobs because they could not find full-time work was close to a record high at 1.4million.

Youth unemployment fell by 62,000 to 957,000, the lowest figure for over a year. The data also showed a rise of 13,000 in the number of people on Government-supported training and employment programmes to 158,000.

Self-employment has also increased, up by 35,000 to 4.2 million, while the number of unpaid workers in a family business rose by 2,000 to 112,000.

Economic inactivity, including those looking after a sick relative or who have given up looking for work, fell by 138,000 in the latest quarter to just over nine million.