Fall in benefit claims in Aberdeenshire despite the end of furlough

Hundreds fewer people in Aberdeenshire were claiming unemployment benefits in October than the month before – despite it following the end of the Government’s furlough scheme.

By Federica Bedendo, Data Reporter
Friday, 26th November 2021, 6:00 am
Unemployment claims in Aberdeenshire fell slightly last month.
Unemployment claims in Aberdeenshire fell slightly last month.

The Resolution Foundation think tank said many feared the closure of the furlough scheme at the end of September would spark a fresh labour market shock – but unemployment has continued to fall across the UK.

Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures shows 4,450 people in Aberdeenshire were claiming out-of-work benefits as of October 14, down slightly from 4,715 in September.

It means 2.8 per cent of the area’s working-age population sought support in October – down slightly from 2.9 per cent the previous month.

And it was also 2,030 fewer than the number of claimants recorded in October 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.

National figures, which are adjusted to account for seasonal changes, show the number of people seeking help across the UK fell by 82,000 month-on-month to 2 million in October.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak hailed the latest jobs figures as being “testament to the extraordinary success of the furlough scheme”.

But the ONS cautioned the full effect of furlough closing may yet be felt.

Sam Beckett, ONS head of economic statistics, said: “It might take a few months to see the full impact of furlough coming to an end, as people who lost their jobs at the end of September could still be receiving redundancy pay.

“However, October’s early estimate shows the number of people on the payroll rose strongly on the month and stands well above its pre-pandemic level.”

She added: “There is also no sign of an upturn in redundancies and businesses tell us that only a very small proportion of their previously furloughed staff have been laid off.”

The Resolution Foundation's senior economist, Nye Cominetti, said: “Many feared that the furlough scheme's closure on 30 September would spark a fresh labour market shock.

“Early indications are that the jobs market has remained resilient.”