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Swale's unemployment rate falls again

By Chris Price

Swale has posted a three-figure drop in its unemployment figures for the second month running.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), there are now 2,478 people out of work in the borough, which is a dip of 128.

Job centre in Roman Square, Sittingbourne
Job centre in Roman Square, Sittingbourne

MP Gordon Henderson has welcomed the news, saying in this constituency people have recently benefited from jobs created by companies based on Sittingbourne’s Eurolink estate including Sparshatts, LKM Metals and Floplast.

Sheppey has seen new positions at Sheerness Docks and Aesica Pharmaceuticals in Queenborough.

He said: “It is very good news that 608 fewer people are now unemployed in Sittingbourne and Sheppey compared with this time last year.

“However, there are still 2,180 people unemployed [this excludes Faversham], so we have to continue efforts to attract more investment and jobs.

“Our immediate target needs to be getting that total below 2,000.” Dole queues in Kent shrank by more than 1,000 people for the second consecutive month in April.

Sittingbourne and Sheppey MP Gordon Henderson
Sittingbourne and Sheppey MP Gordon Henderson

There were 25,911 people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in the county, a fall of 1,389.

The areas with the two largest number of claimants saw the largest falls, with Medway’s total dropping 267 to 5,080 and Thanet’s falling 206 to 3,949.

It is the first time Thanet’s total has dipped below 4,000 in three years, according to the ONS.

Three-figure falls were also seen in Canterbury, down 136 to 1,632; Shepway, down 136 to 1,859; and Maidstone, down 117 to 1,685.

Significant drops were felt in Dover, down 79 to 2,083; and Gravesham, down 74 to 1,910.

Ashford had 56 fewer people on the dole, a total of 1,401, with Tonbridge and Malling down 53 to 1,032.

Peel Ports, Sheerness.
Peel Ports, Sheerness.

Areas with low areas of unemployment also recorded falls in claimants in April, with Sevenoaks seeing 48 people find work, leaving its total at 821.

Tunbridge Wells – which has Kent’s shortest dole queues – saw its total fall 45 to 713.

The smallest fall was in Dartford, down 44 to 1,268. Across the South East, the unemployment rate was 5% in the three months to March, a dip of 0.1%.

The region had the UK’s lowest claimant count rate at 1.9%.

Nationally the number of people out of work fell by 133,000 to a five-year low of 2.2 million.

It puts the unemployment rate at 6.8%.

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