THE NUMBER of job vacancies in Herefordshire has plummeted as a result of the coronavirus crisis, new figures suggest.

That is according to the Institute for Employment Studies, which collected data from Adzuna, one of the UK’s largest online job search engines.

The think tank warns many people struggling before the pandemic will now be even worse off, and says much more must be done to support livelihoods.

There were 1,120 job vacancies in Herefordshire on June 14 – 38 percent fewer than on March 15, the date the IES used as the benchmark for pre-crisis vacancy levels.

The figure was also 38 percent lower than at the same time a year previously.

Across the country, the number of vacancies plunged to 367,000 on June 14, more than half the 820,000 jobs advertised before the virus hit the economy.

Tony Wilson, director of the IES, said: “This crisis has affected all parts of the economy, but it’s clear that it is hitting some places harder than others.

“Many of these areas were struggling before this crisis began and are in even more trouble now.

“We need to be doing much more both to support employment demand in the short term, for example by cutting employer National Insurance, and in the longer-term to support new industries and jobs.”

The think tank also compared the vacancy data to Office for National Statistics figures on the number of people claiming work-related benefits, such as Jobseekers Allowance and some forms of Universal Credit.

It found there were around five claimants per vacancy in Herefordshire in May, up from one in March, although the ONS has cautioned that changes to Universal Credit due to the virus mean more people could get help while still being employed.

But this was still lower than the UK average of nine people chasing every listed job.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, which funded the research, said the Government must focus on mitigating the economic impact of the pandemic as the economy reopens if it wants to follow through on its “levelling up” agenda and reduce regional inequalities.