Suffolk: Unemployment soars in region

SUFFOLK: Unemployment levels across the county soared last month – with Ipswich suffering one of the biggest increases, figures revealed today.

The number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in the town jumped by 242, compared with December, to 3,728.

The increase, largely reflecting the end of temporary Christmas jobs, pushed the town’s unemployment rate – the number of people claiming benefit as a percentage of the total workforce – up by 0.3 of a percentage point to 4.5 per cent.

The only part of Suffolk to see a bigger increase was Waveney, where the count grew by 368 to 3,232 and the unemployment rate by 0.5pc to 4.6pc.

Three other districts saw increases in the rate of 0.2pc – Babergh, where the count rose by 116 to 1,146 (a rate of 2.2pc), Forest Heath, up 78 to 907 (2.3pc) and St Edmundsbury, up 88 to 1,531 (2.4pc).

The remaining districts each saw increases of 0.1pc – Mid Suffolk, up 52 to 1,090 (1.9pc) and Suffolk Coastal, up 86 to 1,409 (also 1.9pc).

Nationally, total unemployment jumped by 44,000 in the final three months of 2010 to just under 2.5million, according to data from the Office for National Statistics.

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Work and Pensions Minister Chris Grayling said: “It’s been a difficult few months in the labour market but things do now seem to be stabilising. The rise in the number of vacancies is particularly encouraging.”

However, at Prime Minister’s Quenstions in the Commons, Labour leader Ed Miliband said the coalition’s Work Programme would provide 250,000 fewer opportunities than the schemes operated by the former Labour government, and he accused ministers of “betraying a whole generation of young people”.

Are you struggling to find work? Tell us your story – write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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