Suffolk: Fall in unemployment benefit claims across the county

THE Government was hit with a mixed bag of unemployment data yesterday as fall in the headline jobless rate was offset by an underlying increase in the number of Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants.

Total unemployment dropped 51,000 to 2.61million in the quarter to April, while the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in May rose by 8,100 on a seasonally adjusted basis to 1.6million, ending two months of declines.

On an unadjusted basis, however, the claimant count across the UK fell by 26,141 compared with April to 1,590,708, with Suffolk following the downward trend.

The biggest falls in the county – in each case cutting the local unemployment rate by 0.1 of a percentage point – were recorded in Ipswich, where the count fell by 55 to 4,330 (a rate of 5.1%), St Edmundsbury, down 24 to 1,720 (2.6%) and Forest Heath, down 39 to 958 (2.3%).

Relatively smaller falls left rates unchanged in Babergh, down 22 to 1,276 (2.5%), Mid Suffolk, down 29 to 1,217 (2.1%), Suffolk Coastal, down 29 to 1,459 (2.0%) and Waveney, down 26 to 3,050 (4.4%).

Nationally, the number of people in work saw its biggest increase since the quarter to August 2010 as the employment rate increased by 166,000 to almost 29.28million. However, 1.4m are now working part-time because they cannot find a full-time job, an increase of 25,000 on the previous quarter.

Total unemployment, including those not eligible for benefit, fell by 51,000 to 2.61million in the quarter to April,