UNEMPLOYMENT claims across the UK rose by 856,500 to 2.1m in April, marking the largest ever month-on-month increase.

That figure would have been significantly higher without the Government’s furlough scheme, which has enabled many employers to avoid or delay making redundancies.

The coronavirus jobs retention scheme has seen 7.5 million workers furloughed - who count as employed in the jobs data - but the wage support scheme will be wound up in autumn.

The Office for National Statistics has published the latest national employment figures for January to March 2020 - but since then, the coronavirus lockdown has continued to hit the UK labour market.

Analysis by Centre for Cities looks at the levels of people claiming unemployment benefits across the country, with 3.15 per cent of the working-age people in York claiming benefits. The city is ranked in the bottom 10 cities with the lowest unemployment.

Jenny Shaw, deputy employer and partnership manager for York and North Yorkshire, Department for Work and Pensions, said the next quarterly figures would paint a clearer picture.

The increase in the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance or Universal Credit is the highest level since 1996 in April, and followed a record employment high in the three months to March.

Jenny said, in York, the DWP had seen a lot of self-employed people and workers from the hospitality industry.

"We are starting to speak to hospitality employers to get a feeling for what is going to happen with that. Hospitality is big in York and we are looking at how we can support the employers and our customers.

"There are also a lot of care agencies at the moment looking at recruiting. We have lots of key worker roles on job search sites," she said.

She said the DWP was looking at alternative ways to support people in the current climate.

The Jobs Fuse is a new service helping those whose jobs have been affected by the coronavirus crisis in the local area get back into employment - while supporting key regional employers with gaps in their staffing due to the pandemic.

The service is a partnership created by Education Development Trust (a prime contractor for the National Careers Service), the Department for Work and Pensions and the York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub.

The service is available to local employers due to make redundancies, who can contact a dedicated telephone number to find out about the careers advice and additional support available to staff.

The service also promotes local vacancies to individuals across the area who are immediately available to start work.

Jobs Fuse also supports those whose jobs have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic through its dedicated telephone enquiry services - which offers free, impartial and professional careers advice and guidance - including practical aspects such as helping people understand their skills, explore job opportunities as well as local labour market information and access to training.