According to the Office for National Statistics [ONS], there were 3,340 people claiming some form of out of work benefit in the borough up until May 14 – nearly four times the number of people out of work last year.
Last month’s ONS figures showed that 2,345 people in the borough were making benefit claims as the effects of lockdown began to hit employment levels.
But between April 14 and May 14, a further thousand people in Tunbridge Wells had to make a claim for some sort of out of work benefit.
This time last year just 875 people were on work-related benefits.
There is a similar picture in Tonbridge & Malling, where the number of people making claims for out of work help has risen to 3,564. This is up from 2,540 last month.
A year ago, just 920 benefit claims were being made in Tonbridge.
Nationally, figures show the largest unemployment claimant rise since records began in 2001. The number of people claiming work-related benefits has jumped 23 per cent and is now at 2.8 million.
“The slowdown in the economy is now visibly hitting the labour market, especially in terms of hours worked,” said Jonathan Athow, Deputy National Statistician for economic statistics at the Office for National Statistics.
“Early indicators for May show that the number of employees on payrolls was down over 600,000 compared with March.”
But economists have warned the full effect of the Covid crisis on employment may not be felt until October, when the furlough and self-employed grant schemes will have both ended and it is expected jobless figures could rocket even higher.