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East Midlands Chamber News

Chamber responds to latest employment figures

The number of people claiming unemployment benefits across Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire jumped by 37,500 in April as the first few weeks of coronavirus lockdown started to bite.

The figures, from the Office for National Statistics, tallied with national data which showed an increase in JSA claimants of more than 860,000 in April.

Separate ONS figures, also published today, showed that in the first three months of the year, employment in the East Midlands increased by 14,000 while unemployment across the region fell by 4,000, although this data was calculated before the Government introduced its lockdown measures.

Scott Knowles, Chief Executive of East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire), said: “Although employment held up well in the three months to March, before lockdown was introduced, today’s claimant count figures provide a clear indication of the damaging impact the ongoing Covid-19 crisis is having on the economy.

“We would expect this to be reflected in the employment figures for April, when they are published next month.

“The numerous interventions to support business through this period have seen the Government provide an unprecedented level of financial support to business and workers affected by the pandemic.

“While these were both welcome and necessary, focus needs to shift quickly towards rebooting the economy in the safest way possible so businesses can start building the economic recovery, which will be the best – and most sustainable – way of securing people’s livelihoods.”