Jobseeker's Allowance claimants in Kent lowest since recession, with dole queues dipping below 20,000 for first time since October 2008

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Dole queues shrank by more than 700 people across Kent in October, taking the county’s total below 20,000 people for the first time since before the economic crash.

The dip in Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants to 19,672 comes after eight consecutive months of falls – and is the lowest since October 2008.

The county’s total number dropped by 727 with the largest fall in Thanet, according to the Office for National Statistics.

It isn't all gloom for job seekers in Kent
It isn't all gloom for job seekers in Kent

The district saw 138 people stop claiming the benefit, taking its total to 3,027.

That fall was nearly matched by Medway, which saw its total fall by 137 to 4,100.

Every local authority in Kent saw its claimant count reduce, the sixth time that has happened since February.

The only other district to record a three-figure drop was Gravesham, where the total fell by 103 to 1,387.

After that comes Swale and Canterbury, both down by 50 to 1,834 and 1,156 respectively.

They were closely followed by Dartford, down 49 to 925, Tunbridge Wells, down 45 to 518 and Ashford, down 44 to 1,018.

More modest declines were seen in Maidstone, down 28 to 1,229, Tonbridge and Malling, down 26 to 812, Dover, down 22 to 1,500, Sevenoaks, down 18 to 640 and Shepway, down 17 to 1,526.

The South East had the lowest unemployment rate in Great Britain at 4.6%. The region also had the lowest claimant count rate in the country at 1.6%.

The South East’s employment rate is the highest across the nation at 76.5%.

Nationally, unemployment fell by 115,000 to 1.96 million between July and September – the 18th consecutive quarterly fall.

The unemployment rate was 6%.

The number of people across the UK claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in October fell by 20,400 to 931,700, which was the 24th consecutive monthly decline.

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