The number of people on the dole in Kent has risen by nearly 900.
It is the first time the amount of unemployed claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance has grown for 11 months, according to the Office for National Statistics.
In total, 19,485 people signed on in January, up by 870 on the previous month.
The number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in Kent has risen for the first time in 11 months
Every district in the county saw its claimant count rise as many people in temporary work over the festive period found themselves looking for jobs again.
However, the total number of people on unemployment benefits across Kent has fallen by 8,564 compared with a year ago.
The largest rise was in Medway, where 153 more people signed on, bringing its total to 3,932.
This was closely matched by Swale, where another 137 lined up for the dole, bringing its total to 1,902.
Chatham Jobcentre’s customer service operations manager Sue Pirot said: “Most of that increase has come from young people.
Despite this month’s blip, the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance has fallen by more than 8,500 in the last year
“That is the impact of short-term Christmas jobs. We often get a spike in January when young workers who got a job at Bluewater for the holidays then find their employment comes to and end.
“However our position this January compared to last shows a marked dip in the number of new claimants.”
By contrast Thanet, which has Kent’s second highest claimant count, had the most moderate rise of 25 to 2,893.
“We often get a spike in January when young workers who got a job at Bluewater for the holidays then find their employment comes to and end…” – Jobcentre’s Sue Pirot
Huge increases were seen in Maidstone, up 93 to 1,254, Gravesham, up 91 to 1,397 and Dartford, up 67 to 864, which was proportionally the largest increase.
Other significant increases were recorded in Shepway, up 45 to 1,593, with Canterbury and Tonbridge and Malling both up 44 to 1,139 and 776 respectively, followed by Sevenoaks and Tunbridge Wells, both up 39 to 636 and 516 respectively.
Dover completes the county’s picture, with an increase of 34 to 1,543.
Across the South East, there were 212,000 unemployed people in the three months to December, giving the region an unemployment rate of 4.6%.
Nationally, the numbers out of work fell by 97,000 to £1.86 million, putting the unemployment rate at 5.7%.
CBI director-general John Cridland said: “The recovery is now established and businesses are continuing to create more full time jobs.
“While it’s good to see unemployment falling we still need to see more young people finding roles, especially those that help them develop their skills and progress up the earnings ladder.
“Pay growth is now well ahead of inflation, and a focus on improving productivity from businesses will help keep this on track.”