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Number of job vacancies plummets across Shropshire, Telford and Mid Wales

By Lisa O'Brien | Shrewsbury | Business | Published:

The number of job vacancies across the region has plummeted due to the coronavirus crisis, new figures show.

That is according to research by the Institute for Employment Studies comparing data from job search engine Adzuna with work-related benefit claimant figures.

The think tank warns many people struggling before the Covid-19 crisis will now be even worse off, and says much more must be done to support livelihoods.

There were 1,734 job vacancies in Shropshire on June 14 – 40 per cent fewer than on March 15, the date the IES used as the benchmark for pre-crisis vacancy levels.

The figure was also 48 per cent lower than at the same time a year previously.

There was a 24 per cent decline from March 15 to 484 job vacancies in Powys on June 14.

While the figure dropped 10 per cent in Telford and Wrekin to 206 job vacancies – 41 per cent lower than at the same time a year previously.

The analysis found that for every job vacancy in Telford and Wrekin there were around 60 people claiming work-related benefits in May, the most recent period with comparable data.

This was among the highest in the UK – the national average was nine, which rose from two in March.

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In Telford and Wrekin, the figure was 15 before the lockdown.

The analysis found that for every job vacancy in Powys there were around eight people claiming work-related benefits in May – compared to two before the lockdown.

There were around six claimants per vacancy in Shropshire in May, up from one in March, although the Office for National Statistics has cautioned that changes to Universal Credit due to the virus mean more people could get help while still being employed.

The think tank compared the vacancy data to ONS figures on the number of people claiming benefits such as Jobseekers Allowance and some forms of Universal Credit.

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Tony Wilson, director of the IES, said: “This crisis has affected all parts of the economy, but it’s clear that it is hitting some places harder than others.

“Many of these areas were struggling before this crisis began and are in even more trouble now.

“We need to be doing much more both to support employment demand in the short term – for example by cutting employer National Insurance – and in the longer-term to support new industries and jobs.”

Across the country, the number of vacancies plunged to 367,000 on June 14 – 55 per cent lower than the 820,000 jobs advertised before the virus rocked the economy.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, which funded the research, said the Government must focus on mitigating the economic impact of the pandemic as the economy reopens if it wants to follow through on its “levelling up” agenda and reduce regional inequalities.

Dave Innes, the foundation’s head of economics, said: “To make this ambition a reality, we need sustained investment in jobs, skills and infrastructure across the country, as well as a social security system that supports people when they need it.”

Employment minister Mims Davies said: “We know it’s a challenging jobs market for many at the moment and some sectors have been hit particularly hard.

“That’s why we’ve taken unprecedented action to support our economy during this emergency, protecting millions of jobs and thousands of businesses through the furlough scheme, grants, loans and tax cuts.”

She added that levelling up opportunity will be “at the heart of the revival” of the economy.

Lisa O'Brien

By Lisa O'Brien
Senior Reporter - @lisaobrien_Star

Senior reporter based at Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.

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