THE number of people claiming unemployment benefits in Tendring fell slightly last month.

The latest statistics show the number of people claiming out-of-work benefits in the district dropped to 2,160 in May.

The figure is down 20 from the previous month, but is up by 20 compared to May last year.

Across the UK, unemployment fell by 38,000 to 1.42 million, giving a jobless rate of 4.2 per cent, the lowest since 1975, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Average earnings increased by 2.5 per cent in the year to April, down by 0.1 per cent on the previous month.

Union and business leaders welcomed the record numbers in work, but concern was raised over the rate of pay.

Suren Thiru of the British Chambers of Commerce said: "The marked increase in employment and the continued drop in the number of people out of work confirms that the UK labour market continues to perform robustly, even though wider economic conditions are weakening.

"While pay is still outpacing price growth, the slowdown in earnings growth is a concern.

"Delivering sustained rises in real pay growth is likely to prove an uphill struggle amid weak productivity and a sluggish economy.

"As a consequence, household finances are likely to remain stretched, particularly given weak household savings and high debt levels."