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Unemployment Kent: Jobless benefits claimants down in May by largest amount since July 2016

By Chris Price

The number of people on unemployment benefits in Kent has fallen by its largest amount since July last year.

There were 19,095 claimants of jobseeker’s allowance or universal credit last month, a fall of 405.

Thanet recorded the biggest decline in its dole queues, down 125 to 2,855.

There are fewer people on jobless benefits in Kent

All but two districts across Kent registered falls, with Dartford and Shepway remaining unchanged.

However, the county’s total remains 850 higher than May last year, although the figures have been affected by the introduction of universal credit, which still pays benefits to some people who have found work.

The second highest decline was in Swale, down 75 to 1,970, with Medway down 50 to 3,470 and Canterbury down 35 to 1,270.

Dover jobcentre manager Martin Kennedy, whose district saw a fall of 25 to 1,515, said: “Kent has a lot of towns which have a seasonal labour market.

“In Dover we see a huge swing between summer and winter and would have seen a bigger fall last month if we hadn’t begun full service universal credit on May 3.

“We have a strong economy but political changes are on the horizon with Brexit.”

Across the South East, unemployment grew by 3,000 to 165,000 between February and April, although this is down 16,000 on the same time last year.

The claimant count in Kent is down for the second straight month

Its unemplyment rate remained at 3.5% for the fourth straight quarter.

Secretary of State for Work & Pensions David Gauke said: “This government wants to give everyone the opportunity to succeed, regardless of where they live or their background.

“There’s good news in the South East where there is a record number of people in work at 4.55 million and a record 2.14 million women in work.

“The female employment rate of 74.1%, and the employment rate for the region as a whole of 78.7% both reached new record highs.

“This is good news for families as we continue to build a stronger, fairer Britain.”

Nationally, there were 1.53 million people out of work, down 50,000.

The unemployment rate remained at 4.6%, its lowest since 1975.

The UK employment rate was at a joint record high of 74.8%, with a record 31.95 million people in work.

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