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  1. ITV Report

Unemployment in the East of England is the lowest in the country

The unemployment rate in the East of England of 2.8% of the workforce is the lowest in the UK. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Archive/PA Images

The latest unemployment figures in the East of England are down to 91,000 which, at just 2.8% of the workforce, is the lowest rate in the UK.

Nationally the unemployment rate is at 4% of the workforce.

In the East of England the number of people out of work in October to December 2018 fell by 5,000 compared to the previous quarter. The total is 44,000 lower than the previous year in the region.

The East Midlands, which includes Northamptonshire and Lincolnshire, has seen the largest rise in unemployment in the UK during the same period.

The jobless total in the quarter to December 2018 in the East Midlands was 121,000, which was a rise of 11,000. It represents 5% of the workforce.

Unemployment in the East Midlands has risen by 11,000 to 121,000 people. Credit: Martin Rickett/PA Archive/PA Images

Nationally across the UK, unemployment fell by 14,000 to 1.36 million, 100,000 lower than a year ago, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

The UK's jobless rate is now 4%, down by 0.3% on a year ago, and the lowest since 1975.

Vacancies increased by 16,000 to a record high of 870,000.<

ONS senior statistician Matt Hughes said: "The labour market remains robust, with the employment rate remaining at a record high and vacancies reaching a new record level.

"The unemployment rate has also fallen, and for women has dropped below 4% for the first time ever.

"Most of the growth in employment over the past year is among British nationals."

The ONS reported that the number of overseas nationals in work was still increasing despite a drop in those from the Eastern European countries which joined the EU in 2004 because more people from non-EU countries are in work.

There were an estimated 2.27 million EU nationals working in the UK in the latest quarter, 61,000 fewer than a year earlier, while the number of non-EU nationals increased by 130,000 to 1.29 million.

The ONS added that the number of workers employed on zero-hours contracts fell by 57,000 to 844,000.