Thousands more East Riding residents claiming unemployment benefits than before pandemic, new figures show

Thousands more people in the East Riding of Yorkshire were claiming unemployment benefits last month than a year previously, figures reveal.

Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 10:50 am
8,880 people in East Yorkshire were claiming out-of-work benefits as of mid-February, up from 8,615 in January. Photo: PA Images

Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows 8,880 people were claiming out-of-work benefits as of mid-February, up from 8,615 in January.

It was also around double the 4,580 claimants recorded a year previously.

It means 4.5% of the East Riding’s working-age population sought support in February – up from 2.3% 12 months earlier.

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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.

Those on benefits last month were among roughly 228,350 across Yorkshire and the Humber.

The ONS cautioned that changes to Universal Credit in response to the virus mean more people can get the benefits while still being employed, which could affect the figures. It also said a small number of people who can claim both JSA and UC could be counted twice.

Elena Magrini, senior analyst at the think tank, added: “It is already clear that the labour market today is in a much worse position than it was a year ago.

“The full extent of the damage will now depend on how quickly we will be able to exit this health crisis and on the timing of the withdrawal of the Government’s support for businesses and workers.”

Separate ONS figures show the UK’s jobless rate fell for the first time since the pandemic struck, despite the latest lockdown shutting large parts of the economy.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the Government has provided £352 billion in support, and the vaccine rollout offers hope going forward.

The Institute for Employment Studies said the labour market has started to turn the corner, with unemployment appearing to have peaked for now.

He added: “Coronavirus has caused one of the largest labour market shocks this country has ever faced, which is why protecting, supporting and creating jobs has been my focus throughout this crisis.”