Covid-19 has been devasting for economies across the country. The economic support measures that we have put in place in Staffordshire as a partnership, alongside those made by government, have had a positive impact, but the next few months will be challenging.
Despite the challenges ahead, Staffordshire can still achieve its potential as a thriving powerhouse economy on the international stage by not just recovering, but renewing. Our five-year Economic Recovery and Renewal Strategy (2.4 MB) outlines how we will seek to make this happen. To effectively respond to those challenges we must all be able to see behind the headlines and understand the full picture - the monthly Economic Bulletin does just that.
Issue 6 (1.1 MB)
Welcome to the sixth edition of the Staffordshire & Stoke-on-Trent Economic Bulletin produced by our Economy, Skills and Insight Teams, which provides the timeliest secondary data available on what is happening with the local economy. However, this clearly only provides part of the picture and we continue to build up our softer intelligence to provide a better indication of what is happening on the ground, including the local response to the COVID-19 crisis and subsequent recovery.
Alongside information on the Claimant Count and Job Vacancies that will be a part of every Bulletin, we again look at the latest Government data regarding the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) Furloughed Workers, but unfortunately there is no update available from Government regarding the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) with the next data release expected in January. This month’s issue also provides more detailed youth claimant count analysis and updated ward level analysis of the claimant count to help identify areas which have been impacted the hardest across Staffordshire & Stoke-on-Trent and where there may be a greater need for support.
We hope you find the Bulletin useful and welcome your comments and suggestions on further information you would like to see included in future editions. If you do have any feedback please send your comments to Darren Farmer, Economy & Skills Analyst at email@example.com.
Director for Economy, Infrastructure and Skills, Staffordshire County Council
Key messages from issue 6
- The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been confirmed as safe and effective by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the NHS has started to vaccinate priority groups and residents. Clearly, delivering the vaccine will be a huge task and the roll-out will take time, but this is a significant step in the Government’s ‘exit strategy’ and will hopefully lead to a quicker recovery from the crisis.
- We have also started to see some of the early signs of the negative impact caused by the second national lockdown and these continuing under Tier 3 COVID-19 restrictions. The sectors hardest hit by the extensive restrictions continue to suffer, with hospitality, arts and entertainment and tourism continuing to operate below full capacity or having to close entirely during the further lockdown. At a time when we normally see a surge in recruitment to support increased Christmas trade we have instead witnessed the recent recruitment uplift largely stall due to the second lockdown, this will particularly impact young people and others that look for temporary seasonal work at this time of the year.
- Clearly, until the COVID-19 vaccination programme is rolled out more widely to the general population there are still likely to be some hard times ahead before we can start to look towards the path to full economic recovery and beyond.
- The number of people on some form of government economic support scheme is estimated to be lower than the rest of the country, 15% compared to 18% nationally and has dropped considerably over recent months as more people have been able to return to work.
- The claimant count in Staffordshire saw a small increase of 215 between October and November to a total of 25,270 claimants with 4.7% of the working age population Claiming Universal Credit. However this is still better than regional and national rates.
- Universal Credit claimants have more than doubled since the start of the crisis in March (although many will not be out of work entirely). Evidence of why this is happening is to fully emerge, but likely a combination of factors.
- Young people, women and the lowest paid continue to feel the biggest impact. From March to November the proportion of young people claiming Universal Credit increased considerably with just over 5,000 more young people in Staffordshire now claiming Universal Credit.
- Staffordshire now has 27,200 workers on furlough, equivalent to 7% of eligible workers which is in-line with the regional and national averages. Stoke-on-Trent had 7,000 jobs still furloughed, equivalent to 6% of eligible jobs.
- The recruitment uplift which we have seen over recent months has been slowed by the country going into a second national lockdown and new tighter tier restrictions, with job vacancies in Staffordshire seeing only a slight increase of 2% between October and November equivalent to just over 300 more job vacancies, which is in-line with the growth seen nationally. Stoke-on-Trent saw a 1% growth with just under 100 more vacancies in November compared to October. However, it is very positive that vacancy levels are now above those seen pre-COVID.
- We continue to see demand for roles in health, social care and logistics with clear emerging opportunities for job creation in digital (including online retail), advanced manufacturing (AI, Automation and Machine Learning), construction (£900 million Getting Building Fund) and the green economy (including retrofitting homes to improve energy efficiency and electric cars).
- In conclusion, it is apparent that the second national lockdown and tighter tier restrictions have caused further economic impact to businesses and jobs but it continues to be clear that Government and local support is playing a vital role in helping businesses to survive and stave off further job losses. Alongside this the start of the vaccination programme is a major step in the right direction to reducing further impacts.
- As we move through the Christmas period and into the New Year it is vital that additional support such as the Additional Restrictions Grant is utilised to help businesses transition to new business models including diversification and digitisation to improve their viability and sustainability.
Edition 1 (1.63 MB)
Edition 2 (996 KB)
Edition 3 (987 KB)
Edition 4 (1.1 MB)
Edition 5 (1.2 MB)