New claims for jobseeker’s allowance fall by 2,000 across the east

Unemployment. Photo: Martin Rick

Unemployment. Photo: Martin Rick - Credit: PA

Further signs that the UK economy is turning a corner emerged yesterday as the number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance fell by more than 2,000 across the region.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that the amount of benefit claimants in the east had fallen to 19,048 in August, compared to 21,825 in the same month last year, and 21,919 the year before.

But seasonal work in the region's agricultural and tourism sectors may have played a part in driving down the numbers.

The findings are based on local ONS research focusing on Breckland, Broadland, Fenland, Great Yarmouth, King's Lynn and West Norfolk, North Norfolk, Norwich, and South Norfolk.

And the figures tied in with a wider national trend, which saw the number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance falling by 32,600 to 1.4 million in August. It comes as mixed signals emerged from the jobs market as unemployment fell by 24,000, but those forced to take part-time work hit a record high.

Separate ONS figures – based on the Labour Force Survey – showed that the number of unemployed nationally fell to 2.49 million in the three months to July, helping nudge the jobless rate to 7.7pc from 7.8pc.

But the same survey for East Anglia pointed to a bleaker picture for the region, as the number of people out of work rose by 3,000 to 211,000 over the same period, which is a 6.7pc unemployment rate, the ONS said.

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David Cameron welcomed the national fall in unemployment, but added: 'We have got a long way to go.

'As the chancellor said, 'We are turning the corner'. But we have got to build this recovery. We have got to go on backing businesses, we have got to go on dealing with our debts.'