Fall in local unemployment

Unemployment across the Ipswich borough fell against last month, according to official figures published today.

The number of people receiving the Jobseeker’s Allowance fell by 79 compared with September to 3,539.

It leaves the unemployment rate for Ipswich – the number of benefit claimants expressed as a percentage of the working-age population – unchanged at 4.3%.

The figure is nearly 300 lower compared with October last year, when the rate stood at 4.6%, although it remains above the annual low of 3,523 (4.2%) seen in June.

Jobless totals also fell in the neighbouring districts of Suffolk Coastal, down 30 to 1,306 (a rate of 1.8%), Mid Suffolk, down 24 to 1,114 (1.9%), and Babergh, down 65 to 1,023 (2.0%).

Nationally, the number of Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants fell by 3,700 last month to 1.47million while the wider measure of total unemployment, including those not eligible for benefit, fell by 9,000 to 2.45million.

However, while employment in private firms increased by 308,000 to 23.11million, public sector employment jobs fell by 22,000 to 6.05million.

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With the Government’s spending cuts set to result in substantial further job losses in the public sector, there are fears that unemployment could rise sharply in the coming months, with Ipswich particularly vulnerable as the base of both the borough council and Suffolk County Council.

Employment minister Chris Grayling said yesterday: “Unemployment is down and employment is up, which is good news. The private sector is leading the way and creating jobs and opportunities for people across the country.”

However, TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “While any fall in unemployment is welcome, it would be dangerously na�ve to believe that these figures constitute a jobs recovery.”

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