Unemployment falls by 7,000 in the East of England

Jobcentre Plus on Pottergate, Norwich. Picture: James Bass

Jobcentre Plus on Pottergate, Norwich. Picture: James Bass - Credit: Evening News � 2009

The unemployment rate in the East of England fell by 0.2% to 3.8% for the three months from May to July – one of the lowest rates in the UK.

There were 121,000 out of work in the region, a fall of 7,000 on the period from February to April, with an employment rate of 77.7%, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures.

The overall claimant count fell across Norfolk, Waveney and Fenland with 10,605 receiving universal credit payments in August, down by 70 on July.

King's Lynn and West Norfolk saw the largest fall, down 35 claimants to 835, while Norwich and South Norfolk were the only districts to see slight rises in claims.

Nationally employment hit record levels despite households feeling the pinch as wage growth lags behind inflation.

The number of people in work hit an all-time high of 32.13 million, up by 181,000, between May and July.

However, annual growth in earnings remained static at 2.1%, both including and excluding bonuses over the period.

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Once inflation is taken into account, total and regular pay both slipped by 0.4%.

The jobs market continued to shine for the UK economy, with unemployment tumbling by 75,000 to a 12-year low of 1.46 million between May and July.

The unemployment rate dropped over the period, easing back by 0.2% to 4.3% - the lowest level since 1975.

Matt Hughes, senior ONS statistician, said: 'Another record high employment rate and record low inactivity rate suggest the labour market continues to be strong.

'In particular, the number of people aged 16 to 64 not in the labour force because they are looking after family or home is the lowest since records began, at less than 2.1 million.

'Despite earnings rising by 2.1% in cash terms over the last year, the real value of people's earnings is down 0.4%.'