Unemployment up in the Anglia region ahead of lockdown

The last set of figures before coronavirus restrictions came into effect show a rise in unemployment in the Anglia region.

Data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) reveals that unemployment in the East of England in the three months from December to February was 114,000. That was a rise of 8,000 since the previous quarter.

In the East Midlands, which includes Northamptonshire, the jobless total was 100,000, an increase of 4,000 since September-November.

The figures reveal that 3.5% of the workforce were out of work in the East of England and 4.0% were out of work in the East Midlands.

The statistics reveal that UK job vacancies dived in the three months to March as the labour market contracted in the face of the coronavirus.

The ONS said the number of job vacancies plunged by 52,000 to 795,000 for the quarter. It said the manufacturing and retail sectors reported the largest decline in hiring over the period.

David Freeman, ONS head of labour market statistics, said: "Our final datawholly from before the coronavirus restrictions were in place showed the labour market was very robust in the three months to February.

Yael Selfin, chief economist at KPMG UK, said: "Early figures for Marchunderscore the impact Covid-19 is likely to have on the labour market.

UK job vacancies declined in the three months to March as the labour market contracted in the face of the coronavirus. Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Archive/PA Images

"An additional spike in unemployment after the lockdown also seems likely, once government support via the Job Retention Scheme ends.

Yael Selfin, chief economist at KPMG UK