Suffolk: Jobless count follows national downward trend

UNEMPLOYMENT has fallen for the fourth month in a row, with more people – especially those over the age of 65 – finding work, official figures showed today.

The jobless total fell by 65,000 to 2.58million in the quarter to May, the lowest for nearly a year, while the number of people in employment increased by 181,000 to just under 30million, the highest for almost four years.

The narrower count of those eligible for the Jobseeker’s Allowance also fell at headline level, from 1.59million in May to 1.56million last month, although the underlying figure, adjusted for normal seasonal variations, grew by 6,1000 to 1.6million.

The figures, from the Office for National Statistics, also showed an increase in long-term unemployment, with the number of people out of work for more than two years rising by 18,000 to 441,000, the worst figure since 1997.

Most age groups showed increases in employment, with a rise of 52,000 in over-65s in work to reach 929,000, the highest since records began in 1992.

The unemployment rate is now 8.1%, down by 0.2 percentage points, although the jobless total is 132,000 higher than a year ago.

The biggest falls in unemployment, and increase in work, was in London, suggesting that the Olympic Games is having an impact on the figures. However, claimant counts across Suffolk also followed the national downward trend.

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A small fall in Ipswich, where the count fell by 24 to 4,306, left the local unemployment rate unchanged at 5.1%.

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer said: “It is very encouraging that, despite the economy being in recession, we are being able to get people back into work.

“It is especially gratifying to see a slight fall in unemployment among young people, and an acceleration in the long-term unemployed being taken back into work.

“There are still far too many people out of work, and for each of those people it is a personal tragedy, but it is encouraging that we are heading in the right direction, and we will hopefully see further progress in the months ahead.”

The picture was similar in Babergh, where the count fell by 20 to 1,256, leaving the rate unchanged at 2.5%.

But bigger falls elsewhere in Suffolk saw local jobless rates trimmed by 0.1 of a percentage point, includingn Suffolk Coastal, where the count fell by 73 to 1,386 (a rate of 1.9%), St Edmundsbury, down 68 to 1,652 (2.5%), Mid Suffolk, down 59 to 1,158 (2.4%), Forest Heath, down 56 to 902 (2.2%), and Waveney, down 37 to 3,013 (4.3%).

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