Kent's unemployment figures for August 2021 show 1,435 stopped claiming benefits


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Unemployment figures across the county are heading down - but fears remain over the impact of the end of furlough later this month.

The latest claimant count figures published by the Office for National Statistics reveal those receiving Universal Credit has dropped, across Kent and Medway, by 1,435 - or 2.5% - during August.

Claimant numbers continued to fall during August the latest ONS figures reveal
Claimant numbers continued to fall during August the latest ONS figures reveal

It brings the total number in the county on benefits at 55,805 - down from the adjusted figures from last month of 57.240.

It continues a downward trend which has been seen month-on-month falls since February as the economy fought back from the lockdowns.

Every district, including Medway, saw a decline. The biggest falls were in Dartford which saw a drop of 4.2% and Folkestone and Hythe which saw a 4.1% reduction.

Other significant falls were seen in Ashford (3.1%), Gravesham (3.2%) and Dover (3.1%).

Nationally, UK worker numbers have rebounded to pre-pandemic levels after the biggest jump in employment since 2014.

Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics
Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics

The ONS figures reveal the number of UK workers on payrolls rose by 241,000 between July and August to move 1,000 above levels before the coronavirus outbreak.

Meanwhile, vacancy numbers soared by 249,000 to more than one million for the first time since records began amid labour shortages in some key UK industries.

Jonathan Athow, ONS deputy national statistician for economic statistics, said of the national picture: “Early estimates from payroll data suggest that in August the total number of employees is around the same level as before the pandemic, though our surveys show well over a million are still on furlough.

“However, this recovery isn’t even; in hard-hit areas such as London, and sectors such as hospitality and arts and leisure, the numbers of workers remain well down on pre-pandemic levels.

“The overall employment rate continues to recover, particularly among groups such as young workers who were hard hit at the outset of the pandemic, while unemployment has fallen.”

The economy continues to recover after the ravages of the lockdowns
The economy continues to recover after the ravages of the lockdowns

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme - which has seen more than 11.6million workers put on furlough over the course of the pandemic - closes at the end of the month.

The full impact of any staff being released at that stage will not be apparent in next month's figures - which will cover September - but will paint a clearer picture of the impact on the pandemic on the jobs market once a key column of Whitehall support has been dismantled.

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