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Dole queues fall by more than 1,000 people in Kent in March marking a dramatic turnaround after two months of rises

By Chris Price

More than 1,000 people across Kent left the dole queue in March after two months of steep rises since the turn of the year.

There were 27,300 unemployed claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance last month, a fall of 1,018.

Every local authority in the county recorded falls in their claimant count – the number of people on Jobseeker’s Allowance.

People on unemployment benefits has declined

A rise in the number of temporary jobs has been suggested as a reason for the fall.

The largest drop was in Shepway, down 149 to 1,995, the first time that number has dipped below 2,000 in more than a year.

Just behind that was Medway, which dropeed 147 to 5,347, although this remains the county’s highest total.

Three digit falls were also recorded in Swale, down 130 to 2,606, Maidstone, down 123 to 1,802, and Thanet, down 120 to 4,155, the latter still Kent’s second highest overall figure.

Large falls were also seen in Dartford, down 89 to 1,312, Gravesham, down 68 to 1,984, Canterbury, down 60 to 1,768 and Ashford, down 56 to 1,457.

“This has typically come from firms needing workers in predominantly the industrial and food sectors..." - HRGO Recruitment's Jo Anne Smith

Completing the picture, Tonbridge and Malling saw a fall of 40 to 1,085, Dover was down 21 to 2,162, Sevenoaks dropped 11 to 869 and Tunbridge Wells figure fell by four to 758, although this remains Kent’s lowest claimant count.

Ashford-based recruitment firm HRGO says it has seen an 11% rise in demand for temps between January and March compared with the same period in 2013.

Kent regional director Jo Anne Smith added: “All seven Kent branches have seen an upturn in demand for temporary staff.

“This has typically come from firms needing workers in predominantly the industrial and food sectors.

“We have also seen an increase in permanent placement revenue, up 29% on last year’s figures which is excellent news.”

Unemployment figures in Kent for March

The unemployment rate was lowest in the South East in the three months to February at 4.9%, below the national average, which dipped to 6.9%.

It is the first time the national figure has dropped below 7% since 2009.

Across the country the number of people out of work has fallen by 77,000 to a five year low of 2.24m, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.

The claimant count rate was also lowest in the South East at 1.9%.

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