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The end of temporary employment over Christmas has meant dole queues in Kent and Medway have risen by nearly 1,000, bucking the national trend.
The number of people claiming Jobseekers' Allowance in the county rose by 906 to 28,049 in January, according to the Office for National Statistics today.
It is the first time Kent’s overall total has risen for 11 months.
Every local authority in the county saw its claimant count rise, with the picture bleakest in Medway.
It suffered the largest increase by far, up 200 to 5,404, which is also the largest total.
Maidstone saw the second largest rise, up 131 to 1,899, while Gravesham saw its numbers on the benefit soar by 90 to 1,992.
There were also dramatic increases in the normally more affluent western parts of the county.
Even though their overall totals are among the lowest in Kent, the fourth and sixth largest increases were seen in Tonbridge and Malling and Tunbridge Wells.
The former saw its claimants up by 74 to 1,111, while the latter was up 64 to 740, the lowest total overall.
The fourth largest increase was in Thanet, up 69 to 4,246, the second highest overall figure in Kent, after Medway.
Significant rises were also seen in Dartford, up 51 to 1,361, Swale, up 47 to 2773, Canterbury up 45 to 1,821 and Dover up 44 to 2,144.
Sevenoaks was also up 44 but still only to the second lowest overall figure of 890.
More moderate increases were seen in Shepway, up 25 to 2,152, and Ashford, up 22 to 1,516.
By contrast, the unemployment rate across the nation remains lowest in the South East from October to December at 5.1%.
The region also has the lowest claimant count in Great Britain at 2.1% and the highest employment rate at 76.6%.
Nationally, the jobless rate in Britain rose unexpectedly to 7.2% between October and December but the total number of people out of work dropped by 125,000 to 2.34million.
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