Suffolk/ North Essex: Jobless total follows national downward trend as employment reaches record high

A RECORD number of people are in work, with the UK having seen its biggest quarterly fall in unemployment in more than a decade, official figures revealed today.

Total unemployment fell by 82,000 in the three months to October to 2.51million, down by 128,000 on a year earlier, which the Office for National Statistics said represented the biggest quarterly fall since the spring of 2001.

Employment jumped by 40,000 to 29.6million, the highest figure since records began in 1971 and up by 500,000 on a year ago.

Public sector employment fell for the 12th consecutive quarter, by 24,000 to 5.7million, the lowest since 2002, while private sector employment rose by 65,000 to 23.8million, the highest on record.

The narrower count of those eligible to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance fell on by 3,000 in November to 1.58million on a seasonally adjusted basis and by more than 12,400 on an unadjusted basis to around 1.53million.

Claimant counts in Suffolk and north Essex followed the national downward trend overall, but with a mixed picture at local level.

The biggest fall in Suffolk came in Ipswich, where the total fell by 102 compared with October to 3,907 and the unemployment rate by 0.2 of a percentage point to 4.6%.

Most Read

Mid Suffolk saw its jobless rate fall by 0.1% to 1.8%, with the count down 23 at 1,075, and in Forest Heath the count was 12 lower at 858, with the rate unchanged at 2.1%.

In Waveney, however, the rate edged 0.1% higher to 4.3% as the count grew by 29 to 2,979, while smaller increases left the rates unchanged in Suffolk Coastal, up 19 to 1,329 (a rate of 1.8%), Babergh, up six to 1,273 (2.5%), and St Edmundsbury, up three to 1,569 (2.4%).

In Essex, 0.1% falls in the jobless rate were recorded in Colchester, where the count fell by 22 to 3,100 (a rate of 2.5%), Chelmsford, down 64 to 2,673 (2.4%), and Uttlesford, down 11 to 747 (1.5%).

However, in Maldon the count increased by 15 to 857 and the rate by 0.1% to 2.2% while relatively smaller increases in Tendring, up 37 to 3,313, and Braintree, up 10 to 2,535, left the rates unchanged at 3.9% and 2.8% respectively.

Employment minister Mark Hoban said: “Once again, these figures show that the private sector is creating far more jobs than are being lost in the public sector.

“It’s a credit to British businesses that they’re proving wrong those cynics who claimed the private sector wouldn’t be able to step up.

“With unemployment falling again and more people in work, today’s figures are very welcome. To see youth unemployment, excluding students, at its lowest level for three and a half years is particularly good news.

“But we’re not complacent and know there are still lots of challenges ahead, which is why the Government will continue working hard to help those people who want to get on in life and allow the UK to compete in the global race.”

However, Paul Kenny, general secretary of the GMB union, said: “Millions of families face another miserable Christmas, the sixth since the recession started, with little hope of things getting better.

“Instead of the recovery the Government inherited in 2010, the economy faces a triple dip recession due to the failed and futile attempt to deflate their way to growth.

“The UK economy is going in the wrong direction with no growth and more debts. This is the exact opposite of what the Chancellor intended. By contrast the USA, which stuck with the policies he inherited, has recovered and is growing.”

Vicky Redwood, chief UK economist at Capital Economics, said: “The latest UK labour market figures contain further signs that jobs growth is slowing. Although the Labour Force Survey measure of employment rose by 40,000 in the three months to October, this was the smallest increase since the start of the year.

“The quarterly workforce jobs picture suggest that jobs growth in the last few months has been rather more modest than the timelier LFS figures have suggested.”

But Howard Archer, chief European and UK economist at IHS Global Insight, said: “After recent largely disappointing news on the UK economy, the labour market data provide some welcome and much-needed respite.

“The jobs figures are significantly better than expected, which provides a welcome boost to growth hopes.

“The data suggest that the dip in employment in September may well have been primarily due to some of the people who were involved in the Olympic and Paralympic Games seeing their employment come to an end.

“Having said that, it is evident that underlying employment growth has slowed recently.”