Claimant count falls by 8,000 in boost for region’s employment
PUBLISHED: 15:36 19 September 2014 | UPDATED: 15:36 19 September 2014
East Anglia’s employment picture has been handed a further boost as the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance fell by more than 8,000 across parts of the region.
The claimant count dropped to 12,702 last month – compared to 21,027 over the same period last year – helped by a 1,008 fall between July and August.
The decline was sparked by significant annual falls in King’s Lynn, Great Yarmouth and Norwich, where totals declined by 966, 1,030 and 1,546 respectively.
It comes as the UK’s improving jobs market delivered more cheer for the government after the largest annual fall in unemployment since 1988.
The jobless total was 2.02 million in the quarter to July, down by 146,000 on February to April, giving a lower-than-expected unemployment rate of 6.2pc, according to the Office for National Statistics
Meanwhile, unemployment in the East of England fell by 13,000 in the three months to July, as ONS figures showed that a total of 155,000 people were unemployed in the region between May and July.
The region’s unemployment rate was 4.9pc and saw a fall of 7.7pc during the period. The worst area in the UK was the South West which recorded a 17,000 increase in the number of people without a job.
The claimant count fell for the 22nd month in a row in July by 37,200 to 966,500 – the first time the figure has been below one million since September 2008.
Average earnings including bonuses rose by 0.6pc in the year to July, while average earnings excluding bonuses were 0.7pc higher.
Despite a steady two-year easing of unemployment with record numbers in work, the rise in average earnings is still a long way short of the pace of inflation at 1.5pc.
During a visit to Weir Minerals Europe, a factory in Hampshire, David Cameron described the fall in people claiming unemployment benefit as “really remarkable”.
The prime minister added: “We had a long-term economic plan, we stuck to that plan and you can see today that plan is working.”
However, Labour shadow employment minister Stephen Timms said: “The fall in overall unemployment is welcome, but the new figures have shown working people are seeing their pay falling far behind the cost of living.
“Pay excluding bonuses is the lowest on record. Under this government wages after inflation have already fallen by over £1,600 a year since 2010 and by next year working people will have seen the biggest fall in wages of any Parliament since 1874.”
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