THE number of unemployed people in York is dropping sharply, according to the latest data, which reveals that the city is making a strong recovery from the impact of the pandemic.

In June around 500 residents who had been claiming unemployment benefits found new jobs.

And the number of people reliant on government furlough and self employment support schemes dropped to around 12,000 - compared to around 30,000 people in June 2020.

City economic leaders welcomed the latest data but warned that many people are still struggling and in need of support.

The number of people claiming unemployment support dropped sharply in the most deprived parts of the city, meaning they have found jobs, a council meeting heard.

Many businesses are currently struggling to recruit enough staff.

Coun Andrew Waller said: “It’s important that we ensure that all communities benefit from the strength of the economy of the city. It is reassuring that there has been strong improvement in those areas that were initially worst hit by unemployment.”

Research by think tank Centre for Cities found York saw the lowest percentage increase in unemployment during the pandemic and a council report says: “Cities such as Bradford, Hull and Birmingham have seen unemployment rise at nearly three times the rate that York has experienced.”

Simon Brereton, City of York Council’s economic growth expert, said levels of unemployment in the city are now below those seen in the 2009 recession: “It is back down to below the peak of the 2009 recession and dropping sharply.

“The claimant count is now down below 4,000, with the sharpest drops being in the most deprived wards. The figures mean 500 people have found a job in June and the claimant count in Westfield ward [which has the highest level of deprivation in the city] has gone down by more than 10 per cent in that time.

“But there are still around 4,000 people out there without a job.”

He added that there has been a 40 per cent drop in the number of people reliant on furlough or self employment income support schemes. But those residents remain at risk when the furlough support scheme ends on September 30.

Tracey Carter, council director of economy, said Brexit and the pandemic are creating problems for businesses.

She said: “We do still see some significant challenges, particularly in recruitment of staff and supply chain effectiveness, which has been affected by multiple things.”

The Lord Mayor of York and Coun Waller were due to host a hospitality support summit today (Tuesday) to discuss the challenges faced by businesses.