North East has the highest unemployment rate in the UK (2020)
It’s been tough for everyone over the past twelve months or so, and not just because of the virus itself. The methods we have had to adopt to tackle it, to stop it spreading too far and overwhelming the NHS, have had significant side effects in areas like mental health, how we care for the vulnerable and elderly in our society, and how we work.
We have, of course, also had to shut down certain sectors of our society, with the government having to pump billions of pounds into the economy to prevent unemployment on a scale not seen since the 1930s. We’re increasingly aware of the long-term health issues Covid can have; what the long-term economic issues will be are, however, still unclear.
Unemployment and Covid in the UK
In February 2020, just before the pandemic arrived on our shores with a vengeance, unemployment nationally was running at about 4%, representing about 1.4 million people. By the end of the year, that figure had risen to 4.9% (1.7 million people).
As has been well documented, young people have suffered most, as they tend to work in the sort of areas that have been most affected by lockdown, such as hospitality and live events. In fact, between March 2020 and March 2021, 813,000 payroll jobs were lost in the UK, and four fifths of those were for people aged under 35.
Add to those numbers many people still on furlough, a significant number of whom may yet have no jobs to return to, not to mention the uncertainties surrounding Brexit and how quickly the economy will recover post-Covid, and the jobs market continues to look bleak. The Office for Budget Responsibility has estimated that unemployment could reach 6.5% (2.2 million people) by the end of 2021.
Unemployment and Covid in the North East
Here in the North East of England, we’ve been hit hardest of all – according to ONS statistics released in December, the area has both the highest rate of unemployment (6.6% against a national average of 4.9%) and the lowest rate of employment (71.2% compared to the national figure of 75.2%) in the country.
If we expand those statistics to include those claiming benefits in our region, 2020 saw an increase of 47,522 people falling into that category to make a total of 121,126 – that’s a rise of almost 65%.
As mentioned, the future remains uncertain, but as we emerge from lockdown and some sectors of the economy start to recover, there will be jobs for those with the right skills, especially if the government comes good on its promise to level up on regional inequalities.
If you’re currently unemployed and you live in Tyne & Wear, Northumberland, Tees Valley, Durham or North Yorkshire, you could be eligible to take advantage of free training on accredited courses in a number of the skills likely to be in demand from employers. These include driving jobs, such as HGV and LGV, and warehouse jobs, including operating forklift trucks.
These are not online courses without practical applications – these are hands-on courses in dedicated training centres that will equip you for the real world. To find out more, give us a call today and start preparing for the possibilities of the post-Covid world.The Importance of Wearing Hard Hats Unemployment in the UK 2020