15,000 people in Doncaster are unemployed, new figures show

Doncaster’s economy was performing well before the Covid-19 pandemic, as figures show a large rise in unemployment.

By George Torr, Local Democracy Reporter
Thursday, 8th October 2020, 4:45 pm

The latest data shows nearly 15,000 people in Doncaster are claiming unemployment benefits - around 7.6 per cent of the working population.

This is expected to increase once the original furlough scheme ends at the end of October.

But business bosses at Doncaster Council said there was ‘reason to be positive’ as the investment team are ‘still receiving new enquiries from companies’ looking at Doncaster.

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Doncaster Jobcentre

They said enquiries are predominantly from companies in the retail and warehousing sector, particular from online retailers, looking for warehouse space.

Chris Dungworth, head of service at Business Doncaster, said: “Doncaster entered the pandemic with relatively low economic resilience due to a number of long-standing challenges relating to, for example, the levels of skills, productivity, household income, unemployment and deprivation.

“Looking ahead, Doncaster and the rest of South Yorkshire is vulnerable to the long-term scarring of its economy. For example, unemployment can have a long lasting impact on residents who may find it increasingly difficult to reconnect with job opportunities, which can then impact on their health and well-being.

“It is still too soon to understand the full economic effects of the pandemic as there are many uncertainties ahead, particularly given the threat of a second Covid-19 wave, the fluidity of Government economic support and social distancing policy, the risk a disruptive Brexit and how households and businesses respond to all these factors.

“A sustained recovery is by no means assured and even on current data it is clear that long-term disparities in prosperity across the UK could be exacerbated.”

The property sector also ‘remains positive’, and speculative commercial development, which was under construction at the start of the pandemic, has continued throughout the last six months.

Units under construction at Armthorpe and the airport are close to completion and are attracting significant interest.

Between 2012 and 2018, data shows Doncaster recorded a £1.57bn 37 per cent increase in Gross Value Added (GVA), taking the total to £5.9bn.

The number of jobs had increased by 10,000 to 121,000 in five years. The proportion of jobs in knowledge intensive business services had increased to 8.1 per cent and the gap with the national average was narrowing.

In December 2019, the employment rate was 71.7 per cent, which was six percentage points higher than five years ago. The rate of house building was on a par with the national average and 2018/19 was a record year with more than 1,300 net homes provided.

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