Unemployment falls during lockdown

Unemployment falls during lockdown
Fewer local people are out of work (stock image)

The latest jobless figures from the Office of National Statistics show that in December, before lockdown was introduced, 3,120 people in Tunbridge Wells were claiming some form of out of work benefits.

By the end of January this figure has fallen to 3,070 according to data released by the ONS today [February 23].

Despite this recent fall in unemployment, jobless figures in Tunbridge Wells are still three times pre-pandemic levels.

This time last year just 1,090 people in the borough were out of work.

The local figures come as the UK jobless rate has surged to its highest level since 2016, with 726,000 fewer workers on payrolls compared to February 2020.

The rate of unemployment is now at 5.1%. 

Unemployment stood at 1.7 million between October and December, up 454,000 over the year, marking the biggest annual increase since the financial crisis.

Jonathan Athow, Deputy National Statistician at the ONS, said the latest figures show some signs of ‘stabilising’

“The latest monthly tax figures show tentative early signs of the labour market stabilising, with a small increase in the numbers of employees paid through payroll over the last couple of months – though there are still over 700,000 fewer people employed than before the start of the coronavirus pandemic,” he said, adding: “Almost three-fifths of this fall in employees since the onset of the pandemic came from the under-25s, according to a new age breakdown we are publishing for the first time today.

“Our survey shows that the unemployment rate has had the biggest annual rise since the financial crisis.”

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