HUNDREDS fewer people in the Braintree district were claiming unemployment benefits in October than September, despite the end of the Government’s furlough scheme.

Office for National Statistics data shows 3,195 people in Braintree were claiming out-of-work benefits as of October 14, down from 3,415 in September.

It means 3.5 per cent of the area’s working-age population sought support in October – down from 3.7 per cent the previous month.

And it was 1,470 fewer than the number of claimants recorded in October last year.

The figures include those aged 16 to 64 on Jobseeker’s Allowance and some Universal Credit claimants, who are unemployed and seeking work or employed but with low earnings.

National figures, which are adjusted to account for seasonal changes, show the number of people seeking help across the UK fell by 82,000 month-on-month to two million in October.

The ONS said the number of payrolled workers was “well above” pre-pandemic levels, rising by 160,000 between September and October to 29.3 million.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak hailed the latest jobs figures as being “testament to the extraordinary success of the furlough scheme”.

But the ONS cautioned the full effect of furlough closing may yet be felt.

Head of economic statistics Sam Beckett said: “It might take a few months to see the full impact of furlough coming to an end, as people who lost their jobs at the end of September could still be receiving redundancy pay.

“However, October’s early estimate shows the number of people on the payroll rose strongly on the month and stands well above its pre-pandemic level.”

She added: “There is also no sign of an upturn in redundancies and businesses tell us that only a very small proportion of their previously furloughed staff have been laid off.”