Unemployment continues to fall in most parts of Suffolk and north Essex
- Credit: PA
Unemployment continued to fall in the run-up to Britain’s vote to leave the European Union and the employment rate reached a record high, according to official figures.
A total of 31.8m people were in work in the three months to June, 172,000 up on the previous quarter, representing a rate of 74.5%.
Total unemployment fell by 52,000 on the previous quarter to 1.64m – 207,000 down on a year ago – representing a jobless rate of 4.9%.
The jobless total is now its lowest for eight years, while the unemployment rate is its lowest since the summer of 2005, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The narrower count of those eligible to claim the Jobseeker’s Allowance fell by 8,600 to 763,000 in the month to July 14 but, although this includes the immediate post-referendum period, the figures provide no reliable indication yet of the impact of the Brexit vote on the labour market.
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ONS statistician David Freeman said: “The labour market continued on a strong trend in the second quarter of 2016, with a new record employment rate. However, little of today’s data cover the period since the result of the EU referendum became known.”
Claimant count figures in most parts of Suffolk and north Essex reflected the national picture, although three local authority areas did buck the downward trend.
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In Ipswich the count grew by 23 compared with June to 1,491, in St Edmundsbury the total rose by 25 to 478 and in Babergh the count edged nine higher to 345, although in each area the local umployment rate remained unchanged, at 1.7% in Ipswich and 0.7% in both St Edmundsbury and Babergh.
The arrival of the peak tourism season saw Waveney record the biggest fall in Suffolk, with the count 144 lower at 674 and the jobless rate 0.2 of a percentage point down at 1.0%.
In Forest Heath, the total fell by 22 to 204 and the rate by 0.1 to 0.5% while smaller falls left the jobless rates unchanged in Mid Suffolk, down 16 to 355 (0.6%), and Suffolk Coastal, down three to 295 (0.4%).
Claimant counts in north and mid Essex were down across the board, Braintree leading the way with a fall of 40 which cut the claimant count to 779 and the jobless rate by 0.1 to 0.8%. Smaller falls left rates unchanged in Colchester, down five to 1,108 (1.0%), Tendring, down 29 to 1,493 (2.0%), Maldon, down 25 to 214 (0.6%), Chelmsford, down 18 to 870 (0.8%), and Uttlesford, down one to 194 (0.4%).