Ipswich: MP hails ‘fantastic’ news for borough as unemployment figures fall

Unemployment falls

Unemployment falls - Credit: Archant

The number of jobless people claiming benefits in Ipswich and the surrounding area fell sharply last month after the number of people in work across the UK hit an all-time high.

But of the near-30million people in work, a record 1.46m were working part-time because they could not find a full-time role, the figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveal, an increase of 24,000 over the previous three months.

The total number of people in work is the highest since records began in 1971 and reflects an increase of 177,000 in the three months to September compared with the previously quarter.

At the same time, total unemployment fell by 48,000 to 2.47m, the lowest since the spring of 2011, while the narrower count of people eligible to claim the Jobseeker’s Allowance fell for the 12th month in a row in October, by 41,700 on a seasonally-adjusted basis to 1.31m, the lowest for almost five years.

On an unadjusted basis, not taking into account normal seasonal variations, the fall in the claimant count was even bigger, down by nearly 56,000 to just over 1.32m, and Suffolk followed the trend with reductions across all local authority areas.

The biggest falls, cutting the local unemployment rate by 0.2 of a percentage point in each case, were in Ipswich, where the count was 174 lower at 3,189 (a rate of 3.6%), and Mid Suffolk, down 70 to 788 (1.3%).

Commenting on Twitter, Ipswich MP Ben Gummer hailed the figures as “fantastic news”, with the unemployment total for the borough now at its lowest level since January 2009 and nearing the levels seen before the financial crisis in the autumn of 2008 which led to the recession.

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“Unemployment in Ipswich is now 465 lower than when I became the town’s MP – down 12.7%,” said Mr Gummer. “There is much more to do but local companies are making amazing progress,” he added.

Elsewhere in Suffolk, unemployment rates fell by 0.1% in Babergh, down 44 to 928 (1.8%), Forest Heath, down 34 to 621 (1.6%), St Edmundsbury, down 73 to 1,229 (1.8%) and Waveney, down 99 to 2,181 (3.3%), while in Suffolk Coastal a fall of 50 to 921 left the rate unchanged at 1.3%.

The county-wide unemployment rate of 2.2% compares with a national average of 3.1%.