Falling unemployment in Hertfordshire shows economy starting to recover

The data was presented to a meeting of the county council’s resources and performance cabinet panel

Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 1:37 pm
Updated Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 1:38 pm

Unemployment in Hertfordshire is continuing to fall, according to data presented to councillors – but it is still more than TWICE as high as before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Data shows that at the start of the pandemic, in March 2020, the unemployment claimant rate across Hertfordshire was 14,370.

Within a month that increased to 25,795 – and in May 2020 it peaked at 38,550.

The image has been used for illustrative purposes

Now it has dropped to below 32,000 – but it is still significantly higher than before the pandemic.

Data from the end of June – presented to a meeting of the county council’s resources and performance cabinet panel on Friday (October 1) – shows the number of claimants in different areas of the county.

And council officials say the decrease shows that the economy is starting to recover, following Covid-19 effects on the labour market.

“Latest data shows a decrease in Hertfordshire’s unemployed claimant count (June data shows a 16 per cent decrease in March) and shows that the economy is starting to recover following Covid19 effects on the labour market,” says the report.

“There has also been a corresponding decrease in data nationally (13 per cent).

According to the data, at the end of June there were 31,885 claimants in Hertfordshire – equivalent to 4.3 per cent of the age 16-64 population.

And that was 1.4 per cent lower than the claimant rate across England in June, which was 5.7 per cent.

In Hertfordshire the June data suggests that the highest unemployment rate – of 5.9 per cent – was in Watford, where there were 3655 claimants.

The number of claimants was 8.2 per cent lower than it had been 12 months earlier (June 2020) – but it was 114 per cent higher than at the start of the pandemic (March 2020).

And it was the only area within the county where the unemployment rate exceeded the national average.

Broxbourne was the only other area to match the 5.7 per cent national claimant rate, in June.

Data recorded for Broxbourne showed that the number of claimants in June was 3410, which is 9.5 per cent lower than 12 months previously. However, that was 137 per cent more than in March 2020.

The claimant rate (amongst 16 to 64-year-olds) was lowest in St Albans, with 3.3 per cent.

The district recorded 2965 claimants, which was 17.5 per cent lower than 12 months ago – but still more than double what it had been in March 2020.

Elsewhere in the county, the data shows that in Dacorum in June there were 4225 claimants – equivalent to 4.4 per cent of residents aged 16-64.

In East Hertfordshire there were 3150 claimants, equivalent to 3.4 per cent of residents aged 16-64.

In Hertsmere there were 3135 claimants, equivalent to 5 per cent of residents aged 16-64.

In North Hertfordshire there were 2910 claimants, equivalent to 3.6 per cent of residents aged 16-64.

In Stevenage there were 3030 claimants, equivalent to 5.4 per cent of residents aged 16-64.

In Three Rivers there were 2085 claimants, equivalent to 3.6 per cent of residents aged 16-64.

And in Welwyn Hatfield there were 3325 claimants, equivalent to 4.1 per cent of residents aged 16-64.