Unemployment in West Yorkshire down despite ending of furlough scheme

The number of people claiming Universal Credit in West Yorkshire decreased during October, despite tens of thousands of employees still being furloughed upon the ending of the Government’s job retention scheme.

By Richard Beecham
Sunday, 5th December 2021, 4:45 am

New statistics released by West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) added that the number of businesses shutting down was decreasing at the beginning of autumn, while the region’s house prices hit an all-time high.

The figures appeared in a document, set to go before regional leaders next week, but it warned the latest Omicron Covid variant and the effects of new restrictions should be monitored over the coming months.

According to the paper, there were 34,000 employees in West Yorkshire still on furlough on September 30 – the point at which the job retention scheme came to an end.

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The number of people claiming Universal Credit in West Yorkshire decreased during October, despite tens of thousands of employees still being furloughed upon the ending of the Government’s job retention scheme. Pictured: Leeds Civic Hall.

Despite this, the number of people claiming out of work benefits continued to decrease in October, while the number of PAYE employees in the region rose above pre-pandemic levels.

The document stated: “Recruitment activity is growing strongly across West Yorkshire, led by Leeds and Calderdale.

“Occupational areas hardest hit by the pandemic, such as hospitality and clerical, continue to rebound in terms of their vacancy counts.”

There were 398 business liquidations in West Yorkshire up to the week ending October 26, based on a four week moving average. Those figures showed a slight decrease from the previous four week periods. The number of new business bank accounts opened in the region stood at 808 for the month.

WYCA officers added that West Yorkshire house prices reached a record high in August 2021.

The report stated: “The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be a central factor in the lives of the people of West Yorkshire and economic recovery a key consideration for businesses and the wider economy.

“The latest Omicron variant and the reintroduction of some measures related to international travel, the use of face masks and an acceleration of the booster programme reinforces the need to continue to carefully monitor the situation and its impact on economic recovery in the region.

“However, as reported in previous reports, in terms of the response of the combined authority and Local Enterprise Partnership (the LEP) to supporting businesses during the pandemic, the majority of interventions are now completed, or are transitioning into delivery of our economic recovery plan and to the business as usual of the combined authority and its decision-making committees.”

The paper will be discussed at a full meeting of West Yorkshire Combined Authority on Thursday, December 9.

Richard Beecham, Local Democracy Reporting Service

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