Unemployment in Hertfordshire ‘rose steeply’ at start of lockdown and has remained at same level

Unemployment has remained at five per cent in Hertfordshire for the past three months. Picture: Goog

Unemployment has remained at five per cent in Hertfordshire for the past three months. Picture: Google Street View. - Credit: Archant

Unemployment in Herts has remained at around five per cent for the past three months – according to data to be reported to county councillors this week.

The data shows that the unemployment rate in the county for those aged between 16 and 24 rose from around two per cent to five per cent between March and May, where it has remained.

A COVID-19 data report prepared for a meeting of Herts County Council’s performance and resources cabinet panel on Friday (September 4) suggests it could increase further.

The report states: “The unemployment rate in Hertfordshire has risen steeply to around five per cent and has remained there for the last three months.

“This is likely to rise further as the government’s current job retention scheme comes to an end on October 31 and local, regional and national economic conditions remain difficult.”

The report also suggests that the number of jobs available in the county has decreased too – with figures showing 32 per cent fewer job postings in July than during the same month last year.

It states: “The number of job advertisements placed by employers in Hertfordshire fell by 35 per cent in June compared to the same time last year. The gap narrowed in July as economic activity began to pick up.

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“The position in Hertfordshire precisely mirrors the regional pattern.”

The data was recorded by the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), and was reported to the cabinet last month as part of an update on the response to coronavirus.

While the number of job vacancies decreased overall, there was an increase in recruitment in some sectors – including healthcare, warehouse operations and site cleaning.

The same report given to the cabinet in July said that unemployment was expected to rise further in the coming months as the government’s furlough measures developed.

According to the latest report, 90 per cent of regional businesses in Hertfordshire have received funding through the ‘small business grants’ scheme. Almost all of the funding available in the county has been allocated.

By June 7, £185.5m in small business grants had been distributed to 13,878 businesses in Hertfordshire.

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