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Claimant Counts, Furlough and Employer Demand in the LEP Regions and Devolved Nations

In today’s Shedding Light on the Labour Market, we take a look at the latest Claimant Count, Furlough and Job Postings data across the UK, but with particular emphasis on the English LEP regions and devolved nations.

Beginning with Claimant Counts, the first thing to say is that across the UK as a whole, there was a large rise in March and April 2020, with the numbers peaking at 2.74 million in August, but this had fallen to 2.61 million at the start of this year. However, the numbers have risen again by 138,000 in February, bringing the total to 2.75 million — slightly higher than that previous peak in August.

When we look at which areas have been most effected, the most striking thing is that the hardest hit regions have tended to be in the South. In the interactive map below, which shows the percentage increase in Claimant Counts throughout 2020 and into the first two months of this year, you can see that the regions that have seen the highest rise over the period are all in the London commuter belt, with Enterprise M3 seeing a 236.1% rise, Buckinghamshire Thames Valley a 200.7% increase, and Thames Valley Berkshire a rise of 194.9%.

On the other hand, the three regions which have seen the lowest rise are all in the North of England — Tees Valley (61.1%), North East LEP (65.8%) and Humber (78.1%):

Next, we can take a look at the latest Furlough data. The numbers of people on the scheme hit a high of 8.9 million back in May 2020, falling to 2.4 million by the end of October, before rising again to 4.5 million by the end of January. In the interactive map below, which shows the figures from the end of July to the end of January, you can see how the percentage of the workforce on Furlough in almost all areas dips well below 10% by the end of October (with the exception of London, which was 10%), only to then see a big increase in all areas in the following months.

As with the Claimant Count data, it is noticeable that the areas with some of the highest numbers on Furlough have been in the South, with London reaching 17.4% of its workforce on the scheme at the end of January, and Coast to Capital at 16.6%. However, as was the case at the start of the scheme in March to May, the areas with the biggest number of workers on Furlough at the end of January are in two of the nation’s hospitality/tourist hotspots — Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly (19.4%), and Cumbria (18.4%):

Finally, we can take a look at what is happening to employer demand in each area, through our Job Posting Analytics. The map below shows the percentage change in unique postings data from January 2020, and as you go through the months, you can clearly see the huge fall in postings throughout the first Lockdown, picking up from June onwards, with another decline as the nation went into the third Lockdown at the beginning of the year.

In line with some of the data we’ve seen in the previous maps, it seems to have been some of the Southern LEP regions that have seen the biggest downturn, although the biggest decline has been in York, North Yorkshire and East Riding, which has seen a decline of 53.9%. At the other end of the spectrum, Northern Ireland and Wales in particular have seen an increase, with postings up on last January by 18.9% and 15.9% respectively.

To find out how you can better understand what’s going on in the labour market in your area, get in touch with Emsi.

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