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Home   Kent   News   Article

Jobseeker's Allowance claimants in Kent and Medway fall for the ninth consecutive month

18 December 2013
by Chris Price

The number of people on the dole in Kent and Medway fell for the ninth consecutive month in November, figures reveal today.

There were 712 fewer claimants on Jobseeker's Allowance last month - a total of 27,413.

However, for the first time since February, there was not a clean sweep of falls across the board.

Queues at Kent job centres have reduced by hundreds of people

Kent and Medway's dole queues have got longer

Dover was the only local authority to see an increase in its claimant count, rising by 69 to 2,056.

Dover District Council spokesman Andy Steele said: "Whilst these latest figures are of course disappointing, they do need to be seen in a wider context, with the statistics also showing that the number of people claiming unemployment related benefit for Dover is down almost 20% since November last year. 

"We would stress that a range of major developments continues to make real progress across the area, and the council continues to work with all its partners to enable regeneration for the future."

The largest fall was recorded in Gravesham, with 144 fewer people lining up in dole queues, a total of 1,894.

Medway was the only other authority to see a three-figure fall in claimants, down 107 to 5,557. This total remains the highest in the county.

Large falls were also recorded in Canterbury, down 98 to 1,793, and Thanet, down 95 to 4,181, although the latter has Kent’s second largest number of people on Jobseekers Allowance.

Maidstone’s total dropped by 73 to 1,828, Dartford fell by 60 to 1,351 and Tonbridge and Malling was down 51 to 1,083.

Ashford and Tunbridge Wells fell by 42 to 1,519 and 663 respectively, the latter being Kent’s lowest figure.

The most modest falls were in Swale, down 38 to 2,694, Shepway, which dropped by 20 to 2,116, and Sevenoaks fell by just 11 to 878, although this is the second lowest total.

Nationally, unemployment fell by 99,000 in the three months to October, with 2.39 million now out of work.

The unemployment rate across the country fell to 7.4%, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The figures also show that from 2011 to 2012, the number of people starting new apprenticeships in Kent has increased by 24.1% to more than 11,200.

In the South East, private sector employment is up by 116,000 since 2010 and is up by 67,000 in the last year.

Employment in the South East is the highest in Britain at 76% but some organisations warned the country is not out of the woods yet.

Institute of Directors Kent branch chairman Emma Liddiard said: “The Chancellor can enjoy his Christmas break after a week of rising employment and falling unemployment and inflation.

“The reduction in unemployment to 7.4% will heighten speculation about tighter monetary policy, but this is likely to be a triumph of hype over reality.

“Inflationary pressures are likely to continue to ease in 2014, due to rising productivity and the strength of the pound.

“There should also be sufficient spare capacity in the economy to dampen inflationary pressures.

“However, the relatively optimistic story for 2014 is likely to reverse in 2015.

“We think supply side rigidities will lead to rising inflationary pressure in 2015. Not the best position to go into a general election.”

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