iwoca reveals Yorkshire and the Humber local authorities where workers have been hit hardest by COVID-19


Research by iwoca, one of Europe’s largest small business lenders, has revealed the local authorities in Yorkshire and the Humber where workers have faced the biggest impact from COVID-19.

ONS data shows that the accommodation & food services and arts & entertainment sectors experienced reductions in economic output of 56% and 29% respectively between February and December 2020, the steepest falls of all industries in the UK. The most recent HMRC data also shows that at the end of February 2021, 56% of employees in accommodation & food services and 55% of employees in arts & entertainment were furloughed.

The analysis reveals that North Yorkshire has the highest proportion of jobs in these industries in Yorkshire and the Humber, with 14% of workers in the local authority employed in these sectors. The impact of the pandemic is already being seen in the area, with Job Seekers Allowance claims rising by 151% from January 2020 to January 2021.

Yorkshire ranks just behind with 13% of jobs in these industries. The authority has seen a 211% increase in Job Seekers Allowance from January 2020 to January 2021 and a 27% increase in unemployment in the year to September 2020. East Riding of Yorkshire (9%) has the third highest proportion of workers in these sectors in the region, which saw a 34% increase in unemployment in the year to September 2020 and a rise in Job Seekers Allowance claims of 52%.

However, some local authorities in the region have a significant proportion of jobs in sectors which have grown over the past year. ONS data reveals that the public administration and water supply sectors grew by 1.6% and 0.7% respectively last year, with 8% jobs in East Riding of Yorkshire falling in these industries, the highest proportion of workers across the region. Rotherham ranks second with 6.8% of workers in these two sectors and has seen unemployment over a year period to September 2020 fall by over 36% – the largest drop in the region. Up the M1, Wakefield has the third highest proportion of jobs in these two sectors with 6.6%, just slightly less than the proportion of workers employed in the worst affected sectors.

Home to the Yorkshire Dales, many local authorities across Yorkshire and the Humber are renowned for their tourism and hospitality offering, which has made the past year particularly tough on the region. But with these sectors of the economy beginning to re-open and the furlough scheme helping to protect jobs, workers in these industries could be set for a more encouraging time in the months ahead.

Christoph Rieche, CEO of iwoca, said: “The pandemic has been particularly tough on small businesses in towns and cities across Yorkshire and the Humber where tourism and hospitality play a major role in the local economy. We’re committed to providing business owners with the support they need to get back to running successful businesses and hiring staff once again. As the economy re-opens, our funding pledge will give them the best chance of recovering and thriving in the long-run.”