Published: 09:00, 21 January 2015
| Updated: 09:49, 21 January 2015
Another 502 people left the dole queue in Kent last month as unemployment continued to fall across the UK, new figures reveal today.
Some 18,615 people claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance in the county in December, down from 19,117 on the previous month, according to the Office for National Statistics.
It is the 10th consecutive month that Kent’s claimant count has fallen, although the rate has slowed in recent months.
Medway recorded by far the biggest fall in the county, with 158 people leaving the line for Jobseeker’s Allowance, bringing their total to 3,779.
The next largest decline was in Dartford, which saw 79 come off the dole, taking the borough’s total to 1,095.
This was closely followed by Thanet, down 77 to 2,868, although the district and Medway remain Kent’s unemployment capitals.
Ashford saw its Jobseeker’s Allowance total dip below 1,000 for the first time since October 2008, when the global economic crash set in.
Some 53 people left the dole queue in the borough, bringing its total claimants to 981.
In the rest of the county, falls of 48 in Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells were the only other highlights, bringing their totals to 1,161 and 477 respectively.
Tunbridge Wells is the only region in Kent with fewer than 500 people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance.
Canterbury saw its total fall 22 to 1,095, while Sevenoaks was down 17 to 597, Tonbridge and Malling down 12 to 732 and Gravesham down eight to 1,306.
Meanwhile, Shepway watched 11 more people go on the dole bringing its total to 1,548, with Dover up five to 1,509 and Swale up four to 1,765.
Employment Minister Esther McVey said: “With more people in work than ever before and a record number of vacancies in the economy, local businesses up and down the country are feeling more confident, taking on new staff, and giving people the security of a regular wage.
“As part of our long-term plan, we’re supporting businesses to create the jobs which people need.
"The South East has the joint highest employment rate of all the UK regions at 76.6% - and the second lowest unemployment rate at 4.5%.”
Across the South East, the number of people out of work fell by 3,000 to 207,000 in the three months to November.
The region’s unemployment rate stands at 4.5%, however it has the joint highest employment rate in the UK at 76.6%.
Nationally, the number of people out of work fell by 58,000 to 1.91 million in the three months to November.
The UK’s unemployment rate now stands at 5.8%.
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