Unemployment for Kent and Medway increased by 1,155 for February, latest ONS figures reveal

The number of unemployed has risen in every district of Kent and Medway, the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveal.

Across the entire county, the confirmed figures for February show 40,320 were out of work - an increase of 1,155 on the previous month.

Unemployment figures are on the rise across all of Kent and Medway
Unemployment figures are on the rise across all of Kent and Medway

The jobless total equates to 3.6% of the adult population of Kent and Medway. Nationally, the rate for the three months up to the end of February was 4.2%.

It reflects an increase in economic uncertainty which has seen the number of job vacancies continue to decline and wage growth slow.

There were increases of more than 100 people to the dole queues in Ashford, Folkestone & Hythe, Maidstone and Medway.

Thanet remains the area of Kent with the biggest percentage of unemployed at 5.6% followed by Gravesham (4.5%), Folkestone & Hythe (4.3%) and Dover (4%).

The lowest unemployment, as usual, is in the west Kent districts of Sevenoaks (2.1%), Tonbridge & Malling (2.3%) and Tunbridge Wells (2.4%).

Provisional figures for March - which are subject to change - suggest a more modest increase across all districts.

Reflecting on the national figures, Liz McKeown, ONS director of economic statistics, said: “Recent trends of falling vacancy numbers and slowing earnings growth have continued this month, albeit at a reduced pace.

“At the same time, we are now seeing tentative signs that the jobs market is beginning to cool, with both a fall in the headline employment rate from our survey and a drop in the total number of people on payrolls from HMRC data.”

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt added: “It’s great that real wages have now risen for nine months in a row, and, together with our national insurance cuts worth £900 to the average worker, people should start to feel the difference.”

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