Jobless rate in Ipswich remains at its lowest for more than 20 years

Unemployment fell by 63,000 between August and October, to 1.96 million, official figures showed tod

Unemployment fell by 63,000 between August and October, to 1.96 million, official figures showed today. - Credit: PA

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer today welcomed a further fall in the borough’s unemployment figures.

Official data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that, nationally, a record number of people were in work in the three months to October, although the fall in unemployment showed signs of slowing.

A total of 30.8million people were in work during the quarter, the highest since records began in 1971 and 588,000 up on a year ago.

Total unemployment fell by 63,000 to 1.96million, although this was the smallest quarterly fall for a year, and the narrower count of those eligible to claim the Jobseekers’ Allowance also continued its downward trend, falling for a 25th consecutive month to 900,100 in November, down 26,900 on the previous month.

Most parts of Suffolk followed the national downward trend in Jobseekers Allowance claims, including Ipswich where the count fell by 60 compared with October to 2,068, representing an unemployment rate of 2.4%.

Mr Gummer said this rate was the lowest since the current series of Jobseekers’ Allowance figures began in January 1992.

“We reached the lowest number of youth unemployment figures in October – that record has been smashed again in November – and long-term unemployment is now falling fast,” he added.

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“This is not about percentages, however: every new job is a family supported and a future secured. The vast majority of new jobs are full time and going to British nationals.

“And now we are seeing wages rise faster than inflation, taken together with Income Tax cuts brought in by this government, employees’ take-home pay will be greater and go that further.”

Elsewhere in Sufolk, Waveney saw the largest decline in the claimant count, with the total falling by 77 to 1,270 and the unemployment rate by 0.1 of a percentage point to 1.9%. The rate also fell by 0.1% in Babergh, where the count fell by 39 to 484 (a rate of 0.9%).

As in Ipswich, smaller falls relative to the size of working age population left rates unchanged in St Edmundsbury, down 43 to 737 (a rate of 1.1%), Forest Heath, down 17 to 349 (0.9%), and Mid Suffolk, down one to 584 (1.0%).

Suffolk Coastal, however, bucked the trend with the count rising by 14 to 526, although this still left the jobless rate unchanged at 0.7%, the lowest in the county.

Today’s figurs from the ONS also showed that, nationally, long-term unemployment (those out of work for more than a year) has fallen by 191,000 to 684,000.

The jobless rate for 16 to 24-year-olds has remained at 16%, while the proportion of self-employed workers has fallen slightly to 14.7% of total employment.

Overall, the UK’s unemployment rate is now 6%, down by 0.2% on the previous quarter and by 1.4% over the past year.

Pay, including bonuses, increased by 1.4% in the year to October, up by 0.4% on the previous month, and higher than the current rate of CPI inflation, which dropped to a 12-year low of 1.0% last month.