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Unemployment down 22,000 in the East of England

Unemployment has fallen by 22,000 in the East of England. Credit: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

Unemployment in the East of England has fallen by 22,000 in the latest quarterly figures released by the Office of National Statistics.

The jobless total in the region was 136,000 in the three months to April or 4.4% of the workforce. Only London and the South East have a lower rate of unemployment.

In the East Midlands region, which includes Northamptonshire and Lincolnshire, there were 115,000 unemployed people in the same period.

Unemployed people in the East of England in the three months to April 2015

Nationally unemployment fell by 43,000 between February and April to 1.81 million. The number of people claiming unemployment-related benefits last month fell by 6,500 to 791,800.

Average earnings increased by 2.7% in the year to April, 0.4% up on the previous month.

Norfolk businesses outperforming the rest of the UK, study reveals

An aerial view of Norwich. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Business is booming in Norfolk, according to new research.

The latest 'Norfolk Limited' survey of the top 100 companies in the county found annual turnover increased by almost 11% to £5.7 billion last year.

The number of people in work also went up by almost 6% to more than 44,000.

Key headlines

  • Annual turnover amongst the top 100 companies up by 10.7% to £5.7bn (UK GDP for 2014 rose by 2.6%). Operating profit increased by a significant 73.1% to £290m, with profit before tax rising by a colossal 91.5% to £228m.
  • Total employment increased by 5.7% to 44,262 staff. The majority of new jobs were created by the Services sector, Norfolk Limited's largest employer (46.9% of the workforce), with employment up 9.2% to 20,748 people.
  • The average salary of those employed by the top 100 companies increased by 2% to £21,465, compared to £22,892, for Norfolk as a whole.
  • By sector - Manufacturing & Construction and Motor Retail & Motor Services reported the highest levels of turnover growth at 20.8% and 20% respectively. All nine sectors increased turnover.

"This year's results indicate Norfolk's largest businesses have performed extremely well, outstripping the growth rate of the UK economy as a whole by more than four times.

The significant increases in turnover and profit suggest companies are reaping the rewards of investments made in recent years."

– Toby Wilson, Grant Thornton Accountants


Trade increasing through the Suffolk port of Felixstowe

Freight levels are increasing at Felixstowe Credit: ITV News Anglia

Now we've all been looking for signs of recovery in the economy and there could be one early indicator of growth right here on the East coast.

Trade at the Port of Felixstowe is increasing, so much so that one ferry service is upping its crossings to the continent to meet demand.

The impact is being felt in the wider local economy too.

Click below to watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Tanya Mercer.

Largest number of homes built in Peterborough since 1989

High number of homes being built in Peterborough in last year Credit: ITV News Anglia

More than 13 hundred homes have been built in Peterborough in the last year, the biggest number since 1989.

The figures, published by the city council, also reveal 500 of those properties are affordable housing.

The area with the most new homes is Stanground - 394 have been built there in the last 12 months.

Extra shipping departures put on by DFDS Seaways

Strong customer demand leads to increase in shipping route Credit: DFDS Seaways

The operator DFDS Seaways has announced it will be running extra departures on the Rotterdam to Felixstowe freight shipping route.

From the 3rd July there will be three round trips made every Friday.

The changes have been made due to strong customer demand.

Felixstowe port Credit: ITV News Anglia

“The extra departures allow customers to speed up their turnaround and thereby better utilize their trailers. It’s our expectation that this will further make the service an indispensable link for our customers who amongst others trade time-sensitive goods like fresh foods and car components.”

– Mikael Mortensen, Route Director at DFDS Seaways


Fears over shortage of new homes in Cambridgeshire

There are fears of a housing crisis in Cambridgeshire after government planning inspectors revealed that local councils have seriously underestimated the number of new homes needed in the county.

Forty three thousand are required over the next 15 years that's 10,000 more than are currently planned.

The inspectors go on to say more of them should be built on the edge of Cambridge to tackle a chronic shortage of affordable housing.

Click below to watch Matthew Hudson's report:

Three counties to bid for more power from Government

Northamptonshire. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The leader of Northamptonshire County Council says forming a ground-breaking alliance with two other counties would bring billions of pounds worth of investment and create thousands of new jobs in the area.

Northamptonshire, along with Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire are going to put a joint devolution bid to the Government this summer.

Whilst keen to stress this would not merge the council councils, they would work together on key issues.

The county council says the alliance would ‘swell’ economic growth by a further £9 billion, creating at least 135,000 new jobs by 2020.

Jim Harker Credit: ITV News Anglia

"This area has an economy larger than that of Greater Manchester and we'd like similar devolved powers, over transport and strategic planning in particular.... As the name suggests, England's Economic Heartland is one of the powerhouses of the UK economy but we believe we can further build on our competitiveness in global markets with this innovative new model, and help ensure the UK is an even more prosperous major economy.

– Councillor Jim Harker, leader of Northamptonshire County Council

Amazon creates 500 jobs in Dunstable

Amazon to create 500 jobs in Dunstable

Five hundred new jobs are to be created in Dunstable as online shopping giant Amazon creates a new warehouse there.

The company, which is based in Milton Keynes, is opening a huge new 'fulfilment centre' - roughly the size of four football pitches - off Boscombe Road.

It'll begin to process customer orders in the Autumn.

The new site in Dunstable will work with Amazon's existing fulfilment centres across the UK to ensure that millions of customers receive their items on time and in perfect condition.

Amazon already has eight fulfilment centres in UK, which are located in Doncaster, Dunfermline, Gourock, Hemel Hempstead, Marston Gate, Peterborough, Rugeley and Swansea Bay.

Together, more than 7,000 permanent employees work at the centres.

"Over the last two years, we have added well in excess of 2,000 new employees to our UK workforce and we are delighted to be able to create a further 500 permanent jobs at our new Dunstable centre. We look forward to our Dunstable centre playing an integral role in providing a first class shopping experience for customers across the UK, Europe and the world."

– John Tagawa, Director of UK Operations at Amazon.
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