The unemployment rate for the Borough, according to figures released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) last week, show that 2,110 people are claiming some form of out of work benefits during November.
This is slightly down from 2,155 but is nearly double the number that was unemployed before the Covid pandemic began when figures for March 2020 show just 1,130 people were out of work.
The ONS said there is ‘still no sign’ that the closing of the furlough support scheme in September has affected the jobs market across the UK, with the number of UK workers on payrolls rising by 0.9 per cent between October and November to 29.4 million.
The number of people employed is now 424,000 or 1.5 per cent above levels seen before the pandemic struck.
Vacancies also jumped to another new record – up 184,700 to 1.22 million between September and November.
Locally, recruiters say there ‘huge numbers’ of vacancies in West Kent and they are expecting Christmas and New Year to see even more activity in the local job market.
Neil Simmons, who runs TN Recruits, told the Times: “Tunbridge Wells is certainly reflective of the national statistics.
“There is huge number of vacancies across all sectors including hospitality, IT, legal and warehouse and manual labour.
“The candidate flow has slowed down due to record numbers of people in employment and at this time of the year, the focus is on Christmas so lots of people tend to put their job search on hold until the New Year.
“We have had to introduce a number of new practices to dig deeper to find the best talent for our clients. There has never been a more important time to work with a good recruitment agency who can work in partnership to assist business growth.
“In recruitment we always brace ourselves for the January rush when budgets restart and New Year’s resolutions kick in, the vacancy merry-go-round begins. I believe this year will be slightly different and we will see applications flooding in during the period between Christmas and New Year as fewer people are on holiday.”