The number of people receiving unemployment benefits in Northumberland has dropped, it has been revealed.

Figures have shown that hundreds fewer people in Northumberland were claiming unemployment benefits in May than the month before, corresponding with the easing of Coronavirus restrictions.

According to the Office for National Statistics, 10,175 people were claiming out-of-work benefits as of mid-May, a drop from the 10,945 claimants in April.

This means that 5.3 per cent of Northumberland’s working age population support in May, a decrease of half a percent from 5.8 the previous month.

The drop is even steeper from May last year, with 1,675 fewer claimants recorded in the county.

Sam Beckett, ONS head of economic statistics, said: “Job vacancies continued to recover in the spring, and our early estimates suggest that, by May, the total had surpassed its pre-pandemic level, with strong growth in sectors such as hospitality. Meanwhile the redundancy rate remains subdued, while the number of employees on furlough has continued to decline.”

Stephen Evans, chief executive of Learning and Work Institute, said the figures show that the labour market is recovering as the economy reopens, but the crisis is not over.

Evans said: “Repairing the damage is likely to take years with long-term unemployment already up 50% compared to last year. The furlough scheme limited the worst of the damage; employment support needs to make the most of the recovery.”