Thanet unemployment rate rise with 9.8% of 18-24-year-olds out of work

Jobcentre plus sign

Unemployment figures for January show a rise of Thanet people out of work, up 2% – equating to 90 people – on rates for December. This follows a 4.2% rise in unemployment between October and November and a 3.7% rise between November and December.

Overall the unemployment rate for the isle stands at 5.6% of the working age population, amounting to 4,620 people. This is the highest rate in the county with Gravesham having the next highest rate at 4.4%. The Kent average is 3.4%.

Thanet has the second highest rate of youth unemployment in the south east with 900 claimants aged between 18 and 24, a rate of 9.8% – up from 9.4% last month- compared to the Kent average of 5.2% and the national average of 5%. Hastings has the highest youth unemployment rate in the south east at some 10%.

Thanet wards with the highest rate of people currently unemployed are Margate Central, at 11,4%, Cliftonville West at 11% and Dane Valley at 8.1% followed by Newington at 7.4%.

In Kent unemployment rates have increased by 2.1% (+660) since December with 32,810 people in the county claiming unemployment benefits in January 2024.


County Councillor Karen Constantine said: “It’s an absolute scandal that Thanet still has such high unemployment rates – it’s also startling and concerning that we still have the highest youth unemployment rates in the South East.

“KCC has done nothing to tackle this important matter, instead they have cut vital youth services and have stopped subsidising buses to Canterbury, which has curtailed social mobility by making achieving A-levels nigh on impossible unless students are already enrolled in a grammar school.

“Instead of tackling this crisis head-on, we’ve had to witness KCC wasting many millions on folly’s like Thanet Parkway, whilst South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay has failed to generate any inward investment or jobs since first being elected in 2015.

“Our young people should be a top priority. We should be investing in them. I will be raising this at KCC at next week’s annual budget meeting.

“We cannot let our young people continue to be treated as Kent’s second class citizens.”

Jobcentre fairs and training

Thanet’s Job Centre recruitment specialist Nick Gurr works with employers across the isle to support people to move into work.

He says Thanet Jobcentres are continuing to work with a number of employers who are looking for staff and hold fortnightly recruitment fairs.

He said: “We now have two external locations where we hold our fortnightly recruitment events to support claimants to find work.

“Margate Caves and Ramsgate Salvation Army have agreed we can use their premises to hold these events going forward.

“The Margate Caves was a successful recruitment event on January 31, we were blown away by the buzz in the room where employers can meet candidates face to face for the first time.”

Some 60 people attended with many being offered second interviews. Employers on the day included My Life Homecare, AKON Security, APS Salads, Calibre cleaning and Tradewind Recruitment.

Providers also supported the event with East Kent College offering training, Margate Caves volunteering roles, Age UK, Princes Trust and National Career Service offering advice on skills, CVs and careers advice.

Nicholas added: “Follow up interviews have been booked with employers seen on the day and both Jobcentres have arranged for two local social healthcare companies, My Life Homecare and Care Tech, to interview claimants directly in the Jobcentre which is free for employers to use if working directly with us.

“G4S recently held a group information session simultaneously in Margate and Dartford jobcentres delivered through MS Teams and projected onto a screen in the training room to talk to potential candidates about their Ambulance Care Assistant Driver role. G4S was delighted with this setup as they able to do this without leaving the office to talk to many candidates at both jobcentres with the chance to answer any questions raised.

Jobcentre work coaches can refer people to sector-based training. Courses currently running or planned include how to join the civil service, customer service, getting into childcare, construction and security.

For details of fairs and courses talk to your Jobcentre work coach.

The UK unemployment rate for those aged 16 years and over was 3.8% last month.

The UK claimant count for January 2024 increased by 14,100 on the previous month and by 61,200 on the year to 1.579 million.


  1. There’s clearly a mismatch between employer needs in terms of types of jobs they want to fill and the qualifications (or lack of) that young people are leaving school / college with.

    Sixth forms at schools will continue to offer more general qualifications in terms of A levels and IB etc but vocational education providers should be adapting what they offer to meet the jobs market.

    • There are plenty of jobs in Thanet but people earn more by claiming benefits. It pays not to work for some people. I know several people who asked their employers to lower their hours so they can claim more in benefits. The system needs to change. The rest of us shouldn’t have to fund the professional benefit claimants.

      It also doesn’t help that several Labour run London boroughs are buying up new builds in Thanet and relocating their unemployed to Thanet.

  2. the problem is most of them are too busy for work – with thier drug dealing in thanet , one sideline that never is affected by market forces or anything else

    • Any jobs at Manston would be low-skilled and short-lived.
      The airport isn’t needed so with the best will in the world, would not last long enough to make a dent in Thanet’s unemployment figures.
      Really sad because this represents a lost opportunity for multi-use development.

    • People can travel for work a large percentage of thanet does, a multiple time failed airfield is not the answer with its low volume of employment when the land could be used for better purposes employing far more, rather than flogging a dead horse.

      • Indeed – it could be used for short term employment to build more houses.

        The longer term result would then be even more people moving into the area and thus further increasing the longer term unemployed

  3. With everywhere closing down there are no jobs to fill – I don’t know why these job centres can’t understand that? or is it possibly peer pressure running down from the government that makes them think we need to look like we’re doing something?
    Did I not read Ramsgate Job Centre was closing down a few months back?

  4. Sadly, Thanet is not attracting investors nor businesses that will reduce unemployment.
    The Arts and galleries, although lovely to visit, employ but a few..The much vaunted Tourist Industry pays little to its staff members, not exactly a great prospect for anyone hoping for good prospects towards their future. It’s very easy to point the finger at the Government and KCC…But that is simply taking the easy path..
    Look around you , what have we got, good beaches, ideal for day trippers, who don’t spend very much, gridlocked roads from all directions, excessive parking fees.High Streets that resemble ghost towns. Litter and rubbish everywhere. That is within the remit of the Local Authority ( TDC) to address. Employ more street cleaners, both mechanical and manual, job creation at a stroke !
    So what apart from the coastline is there to attract people. The Royal Harbour at Ramsgate is certainly a valuable asset, more emphasis should be shown there to encourage employment. We have lost and are losing thousands of acres of farmland to Developers, lots of houses, but where are the jobs ?
    Our schools are not delivering the education, not encouraging sufficient ambition across the board..Our infrastructure is collapsing. The essential services can’t cope.The NHS is stretched to beyond its limits. Our water and waste management, leaves a lot to be desired….
    There needs to be joined up thinking to get the population out of the current Doldrums.
    Our local Councillors seem to spend more time infighting with each other, than working to make the District more attractive to Investors and Job Creating Businesses.
    You don’t have to travel very far to see how other Authorities are working to make their areas more pleasant for everyone….Apathy breeds apathy, and continues the downward spiral…The Government of whatever hue can’t cure that. This needs to start at the grassroots…But if we can’t see that, then the unemployment rate will only go one way .
    Benefit Dependancy is a sad reality, and apathy rules..
    How very sad .

    • I’m a local councillor and there are issues you raise here that have been dealt with by our administration in our budget last week.
      We doubled the budget for street cleaning in order to tackly the litter problem.
      We have launched a parking review and have frozen parking fees in the meantime.
      We have secured levelling up budget to put into regeneration projects in both Ramsgate and Margate.
      Far from apathy, our Town and District councils have been revitalised since last May and councillors are working incredibly hard to bring about positive change.
      Your other point on education in the disrtrict is grossly unfair. Our grammar schools offer world class education in A-Levels and IB, we have highly successful post-16 education provided by St. Georges and East Kent College and both Hartsdown and Charles Dickens High School are amongst the most improved secondary schools in the country.
      Our district’s young people are NOT the problem here – a government with no plan for them is.
      My hope is that a Labour government will break the class ceiling and present our young people with the opportunities they deserve.

      • As we can see from your reply labour has done nothing at all, it’s all fantasy. Small promises with no real benefits except the 10% pay rise you gave yourselfs

        • Strange comment to say we’ve “done nothing at all” – in direct response to me outlining what we have ACTUALLY done.
          You also say “small promises” but TDC is a disctrict council that by and large, deals with the smaller details of everyday life.
          These are REAL promises, made in response to what people actually told us they want to see in Thanet.
          Surely listening to residents and acting upon what we’re told is a good thing?

      • TDC needs to take a greater lead here.

        More street cleaners need to be employed, along with operatives to remove graffiti, repair and replace broken and worn out street furniture, and generally improve the appearance of neglect and decay.

        More gardeners need to be employed to improve roundabouts, parks and other open spaces. Many are either desolate or overgrown.

        Yes – this will cost money. But what would Council Tax payers prefer – paying £2,200 and seeing little or nothing for that money or paying £2,400 and seeing some improvements ?

        Civil enforcement needs to be improved to cut down on littering, fly-tipping and pavement parking. This is an operation that should be self-financing if run effectively and efficiently.

        • Thanks John – we are doing these things where we can.

          Pavement parking isn’t illegal unfortunately so can’t be enforced – and roundabouts are KCC Highways so difficult to look after at local level (we have looked into this at Broadstairs).


          We’re investing in staff and hot-foam equipment to deal with graffiti.

          We’re doubling our road sweeping capability and employing more street cleaners.

          In Broadstairs – we’ve taken on care of Victoria Gardens and will be employing two gardeners to maintain.

          Last night – the Overview & Scrutiny Panel discussed the increase of fly-tipping fines and how TDC will make greater use of CCTV to catch perpetrators.

          • New to the area? +38% on council tax for the first 5 years – business tax +55% on holiday lets/airbnb – 75% on second home owners – Sorted 🙂

          • Cllr Bright – pavement parking is not illegal? I think you will find obstructing highway is illegal and pavements are part of highway. Therefore, enforceable if desired.

  5. An Observer notes that Thanet is not attractive to Investors…Not quite true,
    The owners of the Manston Airport site RSP, have Investors with at least £800 Millions to provide the means to get the Airport operational, and create numerous jobs and apprenticeships, excellent prospects.
    But of course, there is a small coterie of virulent opposition to the Airport, that have slowed the process for years…It could already have been operational, and those jobs paying good wages, that would alter the Unemployment Figures, would it not ?

    • Well said, if the airport fails and more houses get built, then the unemployment rate will increase again! This should have been sorted by now.

    • Who are these investors?
      Where are they?
      Why would it cost £800,000,000 to redecorate the tea room and repaint the lines down the runway?
      I take objection to being called ‘virulent’. But I’m getting used to it, because it’s the language often used by airport supporters.
      When first mooted, the cost for resurrecting Manston was quoted as £300M. Why ghas it gone up so much?

      Most people in Thanet in general and Ramsgate in particular voted at the recent Local Elections for candidates opposed to the airport (despite MacKinley urging people to vote Tory if they wanted the airport). Not such a small coterie.
      And, just think, if the SoS hadn’t tried to foist an illegal DCO on us in the first place, Manston might be up and running.
      But I doubt it.

    • During one of RSP’s consultations, it was said that 30,000 jobs would be created.
      But where would they all live, given that the Local Plan only provides for 17,000 new homes.

  6. County Councillor Karen Constantine thinks it a scandal that the unemployment rate has risen yet objects to Manston Airport reopening the irony is breathtaking had she not been backing the mysterious serial moaner Jenny Dawes the airport would have been open by now and employing workers. I have said in the past there shouldn’t be an unemployment office there should be redeployment office where the unemployed are sent to the Council / NHS / Other public services to work.

    • You lot are one trick ponies, the sad thing is it’s a dead horse. Manston always dies for a reason, it’s not a viable sustainable business.

    • As usual, none of the supporters of Manston are in the age group mentioned in the headline. What would the unemployed do until 2035, when the cargo airfield is likely to open if it ever gets the green light?

      Anybody interested can find employment numbers and average salary paid per professional category at B’ham, Stansted, and see that Manston would be another zero hours, min wage, unsocial hours gig.

      But all the supporters can think of is their flight to Benidorm.

  7. Ms. Pink. Great idea but unfortunately Thatcher put paid to all pits. The towns and villages have never recovered from the disasters of the government lead by that wicked woman.

  8. Given all the building around thanet and especially wx, which it is often suggested consists of a high percentage of housing association property for councils in other areas, if this is the case are those moving here like to have employment ? Amd how does this affect the employment statistics? However it would be much better if such statistics were presented in the form of FTE ( full time equivalent) , which would show a much greater degree of inefficiency in the workforce, it’s very convenient if people work part time as one post may keep 2 or more people of the unemployment register , but is hardly good for the nations productivity.

  9. Now brake it down to immigrants, those national or not who do not wish to work, single parents or otherwise which cannot afford child care, and those on disability or cannot earn as much working as unskilled operatives as they can by signing on.

  10. I am afraid old style factory work and mining is gone. We could repatriate some high skilled engineering work from China, but in the short term, investing in insulation of Thanet’s draughty old houses, fitting solar panels on every suitable roof and connecting them to the national grid will deliver lots of work, much of it well paid.
    Most of all what it needs is better educational attainment.A well educated workforce will be more competitive than the current level of attainment.In short there are too many not in education, employment or training,otherwise known as NEETs.Manston if it ever happens will not alter the situation.

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