1. ITV Report

Unemployment in the East drops again

Unemployment in the region is down again. Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Unemployment in the East of England fell by 13,000 in the three months to June, official figures have revealed, as more people decide to become self-employed.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that a total of 158,000 people were unemployed in the region between April and June.

The region's unemployment rate was 5.0% and saw a fall of 7.6% during the period.

Nationally, unemployment has continued to fall in the UK and the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance is on course to dip below a million for the first time in six years.

The jobless total was 2.08 million in the quarter to June, down by 132,000 on January to March and the lowest since the end of 2009, giving an unemployment rate of 6.4%.

The claimant count fell for the 21st month in a row in July, by 33,600 to 1.01 million, according to the new data from the Office for National Statistics.

If the trend continues, the number of Jobseeker's Allowance claimants will fall below a million next month for the first time since September 2008.

At the same time, the number of self-employed people has reached a record 4.5 million.

Average earnings fell by 0.2% in the year to June, due to an unusually high growth rate a year ago but more people are now in work.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith hailed the government's long-term economic plan for helping to build a "stronger economy and a fairer society".

But the TUC said the figures were hiding an ongoing crisis in living standards.

General secretary Frances O'Grady said: "Self-employment has been responsible for almost half of the rise in employment over the last year. The fact that self-employed workers generally earn less than employees means our pay crisis is even deeper than previously thought, as their pay is not recorded in official figures.

"Falling unemployment is always welcome - particularly for young people who are finally starting to find work - but unless the quality of job creation increases Britain's living standards crisis will continue and people will be locked out of the benefits of recovery."