UK unemployment at 10-year low but benefit claims on the increase

Total unemployment in the UK fell to a 10-year low in the three months to October, but jobless-relat

Total unemployment in the UK fell to a 10-year low in the three months to October, but jobless-related benefit claims rose on a seasonally-adjusted basis in November. Photo: Philip Toscano/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Total unemployment in the UK has fallen to a 10-year low, but there are further signs of the labour market starting to soften with benefit claims on the increase.

The jobless total for the quarter to October fell by 16,000 compared with the previous three months to 1.62m, despite a fall of 6,000 in the number of people in work to 31.7m.

However, the seasonally-adjusted claimant count grew by 2,000 to 809,000 in November, the fourth consecutive monthly increase and the highest figure since February last year.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) also reported a rise of 76,000 in the number of people classed as economically inactive – including those on long-term sick leave, taking early retirement, looking after a relative or who have given up looking for work – to 8.9m.

On a non-adjusted basis the national claimant count fell by 8,250 to 759,050 (a rate of 1.8%) and most parts of Suffolk and north Essex followed this trend.

In Suffolk, the rate dropped by 0.1 of a percentage point in Babergh, where the count fell by 25 to 430 (a rate of 0.8%), and Mid Suffolk, down 10 to 440 (0.7%).

Rates were unchanged in Ipswich, where the count fell by 35 to 1,725 (2.0%), St Edmundsbury, down 25 to 660 (1.0%), Suffolk Coastal, unchanged at 485 (0.7%), and Forest Heath, up five to 275 (0.7%).

Most Read

In Waveney, however, the end of the tourism season saw the claimant count rise by 145 compared with October to 1,765 and the jobless rate by 0.2 of a point to 2.7%.

It was a similar picture in north and mid Essex, with rates falling by 0.1 in Colchester, where the count was 55 lower at 1,350 (1.1%), and Chelmsford, down 25 to 1,120 (1.0%).

The rate was unchanged in Uttlesford, down 15 to 255 (0.5%), and, despite small increases, in Tendring, up 25 to 2,085 (2.7%), and Braintree, up 15 to 1,000 (1.1%).

However, due to rounding, an increase of five in Maldon, to 320, was enough to nudge the rate 0.1 higher (to 0.9%).

All local figures quoted are higher than previously reported as they now include some recipients of Universal Credit who are required to seek work as well as people entitled to claim the Jobseekers’ Allowance. The figures as published by the ONS are rounded up or down to the nearest five.