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Jobseekers' Allowance claimants fall by more than 1,000 for third month running in Kent, down 1,137 to 24,774

By Chris Price

Dole queues shrank by more than 1,000 people for the third month running across Kent in May.

The total figure dipped below 25,000 for the first time since the start of the recession in November 2008.

Some 24,774 were on Jobseeker’s Allowance last month, a fall of 1,137, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Fewer people are claiming Jobseeker's Allowance in the county
Fewer people are claiming Jobseeker's Allowance in the county

Medway once again had the highest total but this came in below 5,000 for the first time since February 2009, a fall of 102 to 4,978.

Every local authority in the county recorded a fall, which is thought to be prompted in part by the rise in seasonal summer work.

Despite the closure of Manston airport at a loss of more than 140 jobs, Thanet enjoyed the highest fall in its claimant count, down 174 to 3,775.

Several other local authorities recorded three-figure falls in numbers lining up for the dole, with Gravesham down 148 to 1,762, Dover down 131 to 1,952 and Swale dropping 123 to 2,355.

Dover MP Charlie Elphick said: “This is really encouraging because it shows our long-term plan is working.

Dole queues shrank by more than 1,000 for the third month running in May
Dole queues shrank by more than 1,000 for the third month running in May

“We need to ensure it is a sustainable recovery for everyone. The claimant count in Dover and Deal is now 10% lower than it was at the time of the general election and youth unemployment is 22% lower.”

Significant falls were also seen in Canterbury, down 99 to 1,533, Shepway, down 92 to 1,767, and Maidstone, down 91 to 1,594.

Tonbridge and Malling saw its total fall below 1,000 for the first time since November 2008, dropping 60 to 972.

The lowest falls were in Ashford, down 28 to 1,373, Dartford, down 25 to 1,243, and Tunbridge Wells, down 23 to 690, Kent’s lowest total figure.

Maidstone Jobcentre senior manager Rose Moore said: “I think more and more vacancies are becoming available.

“Employers are more confident that they can take the right people on and that we are getting people ready for them.

“The economy is picking up as well and they are saying they are getting more work through.”

The South East had the lowest unemployment rate in Great Britian at 4.8% in the three months to April.

The region also has the lowest claimant count rate at 1.8% and the lowest rate of inactivity at 19.7%.

The area ‘s employment rate is the highest in the UK at 76.4%.

Nationally, the number of people out of work fell by 161,000 to 2.16m, leaving the unemployment rate at 6.6%.

Employment Minister Esther McVey said: “The South East saw the biggest annual increase in employment of all the regions – up by 153,000 compared to this time last year.

“As the economy grows, businesses up and down the country are feeling increasingly confident about creating jobs, meaning many thousands more people are in work every day – ensuring a better future for them, their families, and for the country as a whole.

“Helping young people to get a job is vital to securing our economic future, so it’s welcome that youth unemployment has continued to fall – we’ll continue to do all we can to inspire the next generation of employers and business leaders and help them to build their careers.”

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