HUNDREDS fewer people in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole were claiming unemployment benefits in October than the month before, figures show, despite it following the end of the Government’s furlough scheme.

Office for National Statistics data shows 10,520 people in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole were claiming out-of-work benefits as of October 14, down from 10,975 in September.

It means 4.4 per cent of the area’s working-age population sought support in October – down from 4.5 per-cent the previous month.

And it was also 4,130 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 2 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.

The Resolution Foundation think tank said many feared the closure of the furlough scheme at the end of September would spark a fresh labour market shock – but unemployment has continued to fall across the UK.

Their senior economist, Nye Cominetti, said: “The furlough scheme has kept a lid on unemployment throughout the pandemic but many have feared that its closure on 30 September would spark a fresh labour market shock.