September 19 2014 Latest news:
Duncan Brodie, business editor
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
The UK’s unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level in nearly six years with the number of people in work hitting a new record, official figures showed yesterday.
Total unemployment in the quarter to May fell by 121,000 compared with the previous three months to 2.12million, representing an unemployment rate of 6.5% − the lowest since the final three months of 2008.
Long-term and youth unemployment both continued to fall and there was also a drop in the number of people in a part-time job wanting full-time work.
The narrower count of people eligible to claim the Jobseeker’s Allowance fell by 36,300 on a seasonally adjusted basis in June to 1.04m, the 20th consecutive monthly fall and also the lowest since 2008.
The claimant count figures in Suffolk and north and mid Essex all followed the national trend. The biggest fall was in the Tendring district, where the total fell by 191 compared with May to 2,264 and the unemployment rate by 0.3 of a percentage point to 2.9%, while most other districts saw a fall in the rate of 0.2%.
In Suffolk, this included Ipswich, where the count fell by 187 to 2,517 (representing a rate of 2.9%), Waveney, down 128 to 1,662 (2.5%), St Edmundsbury, down 105 to 829 (1.2%), and Forest Heath, down 57 to 402 (1.0%).
Elsewhere in the county, the rate fell by 0.1% in both Babergh, down 43 to 643 (1.2%), and Mid Suffolk, down 47 to 560 (0.9%), while in Suffolk Coastal the rate remained unchanged despite a fall of 36 to 630 (0.9%).
In Essex, there were 0.2% falls in the rate in Chelmsford, down 173 to 1,637 (1.5%), Braintree, down 137 to 1,501 (1.6%), and Maldon, down 83 to 502 (1.3%) and 0.1% declines in Colchester, down 154 to 1,828 (1.6%), and Uttlesford, down 46 to 385 (0.8%).
Nationally, more than 30m people are now in work, an increase of nearly 1m over the past year and the highest since records began in 1971, with the employment rate of 73.1% matching the record level last seen in the three months to February 2005. The East of Engalnd employment rate of 76.3% is the second-highest in the UK, behind only the South East on 76.9%.
However, average earnings across the UK increased by just 0.3% in the year to May, 0.5% down on the previous month and leaving earnings growth lagging even further behind the rate of inflation, which jumped from 1.4% in May to 1.9% last month.
Employment Minister Esther McVey said: “With one of the highest employment rates ever, it’s clear that the Government’s long-term economic plan to help businesses create jobs and get people working again is the right one.
“With an employment rate which has never been higher, record women in work and more young people in jobs, the resilience of the country during the downturn is being rewarded. We know there is more to do, and the best way to do so is to go on delivering a plan that’s creating growth and jobs.”
Hoever, TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “It’s good to see unemployment falling, but with pay growth falling to a record low, serious questions must be asked about the quality of jobs being created in Britain today.
“If all the recovery can deliver is low-paid, low-productivity jobs, many of which don’t offer enough hours to get by, then it will pass most working people by and Britain’s long-term economic prospects will be seriously diminished.”