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West Norfolk unemployment claims falling, new data suggests

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Unemployment benefit claims in West Norfolk are falling, despite rising trends both regionally and nationally, according to new figures.

Data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) today suggests that over 300 fewer claims were being processed in September than at the height of the coronavirus crisis so far.

But several neighbouring districts are seeing numbers increase, while the overall unemployment rate nationally is estimated to have climbed to its highest level in three years.

The latest unemployment figures show a fall in claims in West Norfolk.
The latest unemployment figures show a fall in claims in West Norfolk.

According to the ONS data, a total of 4,365 people were out of work and claiming Jobseekers' Allowance (JSA) in West Norfolk during September.

That was down almost 100 on the equivalent figure in August and more than 300 less than the 4,705 claims recorded in May.

The overall claimant count, which also includes people in receipt of Universal Credit showed a fall of around 170 in the last month.

And the ONS projection for the borough's total rate of unemployment, covering the period up to the end of June, suggested that had remained largely stable at around 3.3 per cent of the total workforce.

But that goes against the national trend, which showed the total unemployment rate rising to around 4.5 per cent in August.

And, while JSA claims also fell in North Norfolk during September, they are rising in other neighbouring districts.

In South Holland, a total of 2,945 JSA claims were recorded last month, up 70 on the figure for August and the highest recorded since the pandemic began.

Meanwhile, in Breckland, there was a slight increase in claims to 3,580, though that figure is lower than the peak of 3,830 registered in May.

And the overall rate for the East of England is now up to 5.7 per cent of the total workforce, the same level as in May.

Union leaders have warned that the ending of the government's furlough scheme later this month is likely to lead to further job losses in the coming months, despite the launch of replacement programmes in recent weeks.

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