The areas worst and least affected by unemployment in lockdown revealed – so where does your town rank?

LUTON, Slough, Blackpool and Northampton have seen the biggest job losses as a percentage of population since lockdown began and 600,000 are unemployed nationwide.

Shocking new analysis has mapped the extent of unemployment and the country’s worst and least hit areas – with Oxford, Cambridge and York suffering the smallest number of losses.


According to Centre for Cities, Luton was Britain’s worst-hit city – with 6,560 people putting in new claims for unemployment benefits from March to May this year – the largest increase at 4.9 per cent.

Slough had a similar percentage increase, with 4,610 new claims for benefits.

London had the highest number of people who lost jobs – the sixth-worst city – with a quarter of a million people in the nation’s capital putting in fresh claims – an increase of 4.4 per cent.

In just the last month, 4,150 people in Luton, 3,970 people in Northampton and 2,650 people in Slough put in new claims for unemployment benefits.

Across the country there are now 2.7 million people claiming unemployment benefits, an increase of 1.4 million from March to May.

Oxford, Cambridge and York were the cities that escaped the worst of the job losses – they all had increases of around 2.5 per cent in unemployment claims.

That still means 2,505 people in Oxford, 2,040 people in Cambridge and 3,265 people in York were forced to fall back on unemployment benefits since the start of the pandemic.

According to Centre for Cities, unemployment hit economically weaker towns and cities in the first months of lockdown.

But in the last month that damage has spread throughout the country, and places with stronger economies bore the brunt of job losses – showing the impact of the pandemic had taken longer to spread south.

The analysis comes after the Office for National Statistics released shocking new numbers showing at least 600,000 people had lost jobs nationwide.

Early estimates from the ONS suggest 163,000 people lost their jobs in May, on top of 449,000 the previous month.

The ONS explained the numbers suggested a two per cent fall in paid employees since the country went into lockdown on March 23.

More than 3.2 million people have claimed Universal Credit since the start of the lockdown, according to the ONS.

Manchester and Birmingham were also hit hard by unemployment numbers – with 60,540 and 59,135 new claims respectively.

Both had an increase of just below four per cent.

Ten least-badly hit cities in the UK

  • York: 2.3% – 3,265
  • Cambridge: 2.4% – 2,040
  • Oxford: 2.4% – 2,505
  • Aberdeen: 2.4% – 3,705
  • Exeter 2.5% – 2,255
  • Swansea: 2.6% – 6,390
  • Dundee: 2.7% –  2,635
  • Reading: 2.9% –  6,140
  • Edinburgh: 2.9% –  10,600
  • Warrington: 2.9% –  3,795

The Institute for Employment Studies (IES) expects the total jobless figure to mid-May will be between 2.6million and 2.8million.

Analysis by the IES found ex-industrial, inner city and coastal areas are suffering the worst from the coronavirus jobs meltdown.

In Blackpool, one in eight residents are now claiming jobless benefits. One in eleven people in Birmingham and Thanet are claiming unemployment benefits.

The North East is the hardest-hit region, with one in ten people claiming jobless benefits, followed by the West Midlands and the North West.

The least affected areas are the South West, where the rate is 6.6 per cent.

IES director Tony Wilson said: “It’s clear too that this crisis is hitting many poorer areas hardest – with coastal towns and ex-industrial areas seeing particularly big increases in unemployment.”

The Sun Says

NEW unemployment figures make for grim reading.

The number of people claiming jobless benefits more than doubled to hit 2.8million in May — the highest level since 1993.

And because the furlough scheme is masking the true extent of the crisis, we fear the worst is yet to come.

Scientists are trained to think about public health in the narrowest sense. So their instincts tell them to keep Britain in lockdown for as long as possible.

But elected politicians know that poverty and mass unemployment kill just as surely as the virus.

It’s time they showed some leadership and started easing restrictions in earnest.

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