East Midlands hit hardest by unemployment during pandemic

Residents of the East Midlands have been among the worst affected in the country when it comes to unemployment during the pandemic, new figures show.

Wednesday, 16th September 2020, 2:44 pm
The UK unemployment rate has risen to its highest level for two years.

Across the region, the unemployment rate rose by 0.7 per cent – the second largest increase in the UK – in the period from May to July.

This took the East Midlands unemployment rate to 4.4 per cent, a third of a percentage point above the national average and the joint fourth highest rate in the country.

Chris Hobson, director of policy and external affairs at East Midlands Chamber , said: "These figures show that people in the East Midlands have clearly been hit at a disproportionate level compared to the majority of the UK as the effects of coronavirus continue to damage the economy.

“This can perhaps be explained by the fact unemployment is particularly rising in sectors such as retail, hospitality and leisure, which represent large swathes of the regional economy.

"These are being replaced by new jobs in areas including logistics and IT, illustrating the shift in consumer habits that had already been happening, but was exacerbated during the past few months.

“The good news from an East Midlands perspective, though, is that we are well positioned to take advantage of these opportunities in the long term, with a growing logistics sector developing around East Midlands Airport.

"Caution remains for what lies ahead in the short and medium term, however.

"A lag in reporting means the latest ONS figures only cover until the end of July, when the government’s furlough scheme was still in full swing.

"We won’t see the full impact of how it has been tapering off for another couple of months, while the biggest impact is likely to come after it is brought to an end altogether on October 31.

“The chamber’s latest Quarterly Economic Survey for Q3 2020 shows that 27 per cent of businesses decreased the size of their workforce over the three months to September.

“There may be some light at the end of the tunnel, however, as 23 per cent of

respondents expect to see their workforce increase over the next three months.”