Published: 09:00, 16 July 2014
| Updated: 09:49, 16 July 2014
The number of people on the dole in Kent fell at its highest rate since before the recession, new figures reveal today.
In June, 1,880 people left the line for Jobseeker’s Allowance across the county, bringing the total to 22,894, according to the Office for National Statistics.
It is the lowest figure since December 2008, following the biggest drop across the South East for two decades.
Three-figure falls in the claimant count were seen in all but three of Kent’s local authorities.
It is the fourth consecutive month the county’s total has dropped by more than 1,000 people.
Medway once again recorded the highest reduction of 347 to 4,631, which remains Kent’s highest total.
Dover’s claimant count fell by 198 to 1,754, narrowly eclipsing Swale’s fall of 194 to 2,161.
Canterbury watched its dole queues shorten by 187 people to 1,346, with Thanet seeing 184 fewer people line up, bringing its total to 3,591, still the county’s second highest figure.
Impressive drops were also seen in Ashford, down 133 to 1,240, Maidstone, down 130 to 1,464, Gravesham, down 121 to 1,641, Dartford, down 114 to 1,129 and Shepway, down 110 to 1,657.
Normally significant falls of 75 in Tonbridge and Malling to 898 and 65 in Tunbridge Wells to 625 were dwarfed by the rest of the county’s performance.
Sevenoaks’ dole queues thinned the least at 23 to 757.
The three authorities with the smallest reductions also had the county’s lowest three claimant totals.
The unemployment rate in the South East was the lowest in the UK at 4.4% in the three months to May.
The region also had the lowest dole claimant rate at 1.8%.
Nationally, unemployment fell by 121,000 to 2.12 million, its lowest level in six years.
Minister for Employment Esther McVey said: “An important milestone has been reached in our country’s recovery.
“With one of the highest employment rates ever, it’s clear that the Government’s long-term economic plan to help businesses create jobs and get people working again is the right one.
“With 81,000 fewer unemployed people in the South East compared to this time last year and the lowest unemployment rate of all the regions, the resilience of the country during the downturn is being rewarded.
“We know there is more to do, and the best way to do so is to go on delivering a plan that’s creating growth and jobs.”
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