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Number of people in employment has dropped by 56,000 in recent months, ONS figures show

PUBLISHED: 11:59 13 December 2017 | UPDATED: 15:45 13 December 2017

Jobcentre Plus on Pottergate, Norwich. 

Picture: James Bass

Jobcentre Plus on Pottergate, Norwich. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2009

The number of people in work has seen its biggest quarterly drop in more than two years, new figures show.

There were just over 32 million people in employment between September and November, 56,000 fewer than in the three month period from May to June, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

In the East of England the number of unemployed people fell by 7,000 to 115,000, equal to an unemployment rate of 3.6%.

The claimant count for Norfolk and Waveney (the number of people claiming jobseeker’s allowance and universal credit) was 9,815 in November, up from 9,670 in October. However the ONS has said this number could be artificially inflated as more people move onto universal credit.

Nationally, unemployment fell by 26,000 to 1.4 million, which is 182,000 lower than a year ago.

Average earnings increased by 2.5% in the year to October, 0.2% up on the previous month, although pay is still growing at less than the rate of inflation.

The ONS figures showed there are also a record number of vacancies (798,000) in the economy at any one time.

ONS statistician Matt Hughes said: “Employment stayed close to its record high and, while up on a year ago, declined compared with the previous three months.

“Unemployment also fell, but there was a rise in the number of people who were neither working nor looking for a job. Meanwhile the number of vacancies continue to grow, reaching a new record high.

“There has been a slight pick-up in pay growth in cash terms, which means that, although earnings are still growing less than inflation, the gap has narrowed.”

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