Unemployment benefit claims fall in Aberdeenshire
Hundreds fewer people in Aberdeenshire were claiming unemployment benefits in May than the month before, as coronavirus restrictions were eased.
Office for National Statistics data shows 5,850 people in the area were claiming out-of-work benefits as of mid-May, down from 6,420 in April.
It means 3.6 per cent of Aberdeenshire's working-age population sought support in May – down from four per cent the previous month.
And it was also 110 fewer than the number of claimants recorded in May last year.
The figures include those aged 16 to 64 on Jobseeker’s Allowance and some Universal Credit claimants, who are unemployed and seeking work or employed but with low earnings.
The ONS cautioned that changes to Universal Credit in response to the virus mean more people can get the benefits while still being employed, which could affect the figures.
It also said a small number of people who can claim both Jobseeker’s Allowance and Universal Credit could be counted twice.
Stephen Evans, chief executive of Learning and Work Institute, said the figures show the labour market is recovering as the economy reopens – but the crisis is by no means over.
He added: "Repairing the damage is likely to take years with long-term unemployment already up 50 per cent compared to last year.
"The furlough scheme limited the worst of the damage; employment support needs to make the most of the recovery."