THE number of people claiming unemployment benefits more than doubled in Carmarthenshire in the first full month of the coronavirus lockdown, a council report has said.
It said 5,495 people in the county were claiming unemployment-related benefits in April, compared to 2,420 in April 2019.
Carmarthenshire’s claimant rate last year was lower than the Wales and UK average, but the increase this year was higher.
The report said this could be because the county’s economy was characterised by more self-employed people than average, who may have found it harder to access grants and support.
It warned unemployment numbers could rise significantly in the coming months.
“The majority of job losses are likely to be at a lower skills level as these jobs tend to be part-time, low paid and more unstable,” said the report, which will be discussed by the council’s executive board on June 29.
The report included an online business survey, which 574 firms responded to.
In total, 83% of respondents said the effect of Covid-19 had been significant.
Fewer than 1% of businesses experienced an increase in trade, and 11% had laid off staff. Cash-flow was a fundamental issue.
In the worst-case scenario, said the report, just under 1,000 jobs had been wiped out as a result of the coronavirus.
And most businesses would not be able to operate longer than three months unless there were changes.