The coronavirus outbreak has been devastating in many ways, not only because of its threat to public health, but its impact on work, as well.
With countless businesses forced to close, many workers have been placed on furlough to save them from redundancy - but thousands haven’t been so lucky, resulting in a spike in unemployment rates.
‘More hardship to come’
Unemployment in the UK has now reached 2.1 million, with Chancellor Rishi Sunak warning there is still “more hardship to come”.
The government is bracing for a severe recession, and Mr Sunak stressed there will be no “immediate bounce-back”, even after lockdown restrictions are eased.
In April, 856,500 people signed up for Universal Credit and Jobseeker’s Allowance, resulting in a 69 per cent rise in overall claims over a single month, according to the Office for National Statistics.
As a result, unemployment figures climbed above two million for the first time since 1996, marking the fastest rate of increase since records began in the 1970s.
Which areas are worst affected?
Some parts of the UK have been hit harder than others, the Institute for Employment studies has said.
Experts are now predicting that unemployment rates could eventually rise from 3.9 per cent to 10 per cent.
The North West of England has been most severely affected by unemployment, with Blackpool topping the list with the biggest spike in unemployment rates in April.
Listed are the 10 areas of the UK with the highest rate of unemployed people on benefits:
1. Blackpool - 3.4% increase in unemployment; 8.9% on jobless benefits
2. Liverpool - 2.9% increase in unemployment; 7.6% on jobless benefits
3. Hull - 2.8% increase in unemployment; 8.7% on jobless benefits
4. Belfast - 2.6% increase in unemployment; 5.4% on jobless benefits
5. Manchester - 2.6% increase in unemployment; 6.7% on jobless benefits
6. Doncaster - 2.6% increase in unemployment; 6.6% on jobless benefits
7. Barnsley - 2.5% increase in unemployment; 5.9% on jobless benefits
8. Sunderland - 2.5% increase in unemployment; 7.6% on jobless benefits
9. Telford - 2.4% increase in unemployment; 5.5% on jobless benefits
10. Newcastle - 2.4% increase in unemployment; 7.1% on jobless benefits