Employment levels in Dorset are recovering from lockdowns at a rate that is better than the UK average.
Data released last week by the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (Dorset LEP) shows the county rebounded more strongly in terms of recruitment following the first lockdown than the national average.
Then, after the second lockdown in November, there was a wobble in employment levels, but nothing to the extent seen earlier in the year.
This was followed by a swift comeback in December 2020, by which time there were 57,433 vacancies advertised in Dorset for the last month of 2020, which ended the whole year at 92% of the vacancies of the year before.
Mira Koseva, Skills Analyst at Dorset LEP, told Buzz: “We closed the year at 92%of vacancies which is actually quite impressive.”
“It means businesses have bounced back really well.”
There were 47% more vacancies in December 2020 than in 2019, which is far above the national average at 18 percentage points higher.
Ms Koseva added: “We were better than the national average in terms of improvement following the lockdown. We can be cautiously optimistic in terms of vacancies.”
“A lot of this is due to the government schemes, for example, the furlough support and self-employment support. But also due to home-based work as so many people managed to shift to working home.”
The demand for sales, customer service, office administration, chefs, machine operatives, skilled trades decreased in the area.
Demand increased for openings in healthcare with skilled nurses, along with software developers and replacing office/administrative jobs.
Throughout 2020, the NHS was the largest individual employer in Dorset, followed by JP Morgan, Bournemouth University and the councils.
Overall labour demand fell by half in accommodation and food services, arts, entertainment, and recreation.
But overall labour demand was maintained by financial services, utilities, scientific work and technical activities, while it actually grew by a quarter in the health and social care sector.
As large parts of the economy closed back in March, the data shows a quarter of working-age residents were furloughed and that the claimant count grew almost threefold in Dorset.
Over the course of the months that followed the number of furlough claimants remained high, 5% of the 16+ residents and 7% of 18- 24-year-olds in November.
However, the number of furloughed workers significantly dropped to 5% in November without a further increase in claimants, indicating movements back to work.
The future is uncertain, as the country is currently in another national lockdown with no official end date.
But with the bounce back from previous lockdowns being better in Dorset than the rest of the UK there is room for optimism in the county, especially with a staycation boom predicted by industry bosses once the current restrictions end, which would boost tourism.
To find out what the future holds for the Dorset job economy, check out our previous piece on the launch of the new government scheme ‘an hour to skill’ designed to address the skills mismatch both nationwide and locally.