UK unemployment rises for second month in a row

Total unemployment in the UK has risent for the second month running.

Total unemployment in the UK has risent for the second month running. - Credit: PA

Unemployment in the UK has increased for the second month in a row, according to the latest official figures.

Total unemployment in the three months to June rose by 25,000 to 1.85million, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed today, the first time the UK has seen seen two consecutive monthly increases for two years.

However, the narrower count of those eligible to claim unemployment-related benefits (including the Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) and the out-of-work element of Universal Credit) fell by 4,900 in July to 792,400, following a slight increase in June which ended a continuous run of month-on-month falls in benefit claims dating back to October 2012.

Today’s figures also show that the number of people in work in the quarter to June fell by 63,000 compared with the previous three months to 31m, although this figure remains 354,000 more than a year ago.

Average earnings increased by 2.4% in the year to June, down by 0.8% on the previous month, but still well ahead of inflation which fell back to zero in June from 0.1% in May.

ONS statistician David Freeman said: “This is now the second consecutive time we’ve reported fewer people in work on the quarter.

“While it’s too early to conclude that the jobs market is levelling off, these figures certainly strengthen that possibility. Growth in pay, however, remains solid.”

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There was little change in the JSA claimant count figures in most parts of Suffolk and north Essex, with a few districts seeing slight increases, against the national trend, although the local figures are not directly comparable with the seasonally-adjusted national data.

The biggest falls in Suffolk, in each case cutting the local unemployment rate by 0.1 of a percentage point, were in Ipswich, where the count fell by 49 to 1,836 (representing a rate of 2.1%), and St Edmundsbury, also down by 49 to 568 (0.8%).

Smaller falls left the rate unchanged in Babergh, down nine to 391 (0.8%), Forest Heath, down 22 to 278 (0.7%), Suffolk Coastal, down 13 to 355 (0.5%), and Waveney, down 25 to 1,044 (1.6%). In Mid Suffolk, however, the count grew by 21 to 483, although the rate remained unchanged at 0.8%.

The picture in north and mid Essex was more mixed. The biggest fall came in Tendring, where the count was down by 81 at 1,632 and the local jobless rate 0.1 lower at 2.1%, and smaller falls left the rate unchanged in Colchester, down 31 to 1,126 (1.0%), and Uttlesford, down nine to 264 (0.5%).

However, the claimant counts rose in Braintree, by 19 to 1,089, (a rate of 1.2%), Chelmsford, by four to 1,324 (1.2%), and Maldon, by five to 385 (1.0%), although in each case the rate remained unchanged on the previous month.