Unemployment hits 17-year high

UNEMPLOYMENT in the UK has hit a 17-year high with more than 100,000 people swelling the ranks of those looking for work during the latest quarter, official figures revealed today.

And the number of people in employment fell by 178,000 in the three months to August, the biggest fall in more than two years.

The number of young people out of work reached a record high of 991,000, but fell just short of breaking the 1million barrier as some commentators had predicted.

The narrower count of people entitled to claim the Jobseeker’s Allowance increased for the seventh month running in September, to just under 1.6million, although Suffolk and north Essex bucked the trend with a small fall overall despite a mixed picture at local level.

The biggest increases, linked to the end of the main summer holiday season, were in Tendring, where the count grew by 90 to 3,569 and the rate by 0.1 of a percentage point to 4.2%, and Waveney, where the count rose by 67 to �2,905 and the rate also by 0.1% to 4.2%.

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Smaller increases left the local rate unchanged in Ipswich, up seven to 4,131 (4.9%), Colchester, up 13 to 3,369 (2.8%), and Mid Suffolk, up 17 to 1,243 (2.1%).

However, five districts saw a 0.1% fall in their unemployment rate, including Babergh, where the count fell by 38 to 1,164 (a rate of 2.3%), Braintree, down 17 to 2,595 (2.8%), Forest Heath, down 31 to 817 (2.0%), Maldon, down 24 to 830 (2.1%) and Suffolk Coastal, down 62 to 1,353 (1.8%).

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Smaller falls left rates unchanged in St Edmundsbury, down 18 to 1,529 (2.4%), Uttlesford, down 23 to 816 (1.7%) and Chelmsford, down 26 to 2,891 (2.6%).

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