EMPLOYMENT in Yorkshire and the Humber will not return to 2019 levels until 2023, a new report has suggested.

The Economic Outlook report by Oxford Economics, commissioned by chartered accountancy body ICAEW, found that the impact of COVID-19 and uncertainty around the UK’s trade talks with the EU are weighing on the region’s employment levels and economy.

Dr James Callaghan, ICAEW Regional Director for Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “Businesses in Yorkshire and the Humber have faced very difficult trading conditions over the past few months, and unfortunately this looks set to continue.

"As a region with a large manufacturing sector we were particularly exposed to the downturn, and it may take time for employment to return to pre-pandemic levels.

“The Chancellor’s autumn budget should be a social, education and industrial strategy which combines protection and re-training for displaced workers over the short and medium-term, with intervention and investment to create jobs with a future, especially in the green and scientific sectors.

"The furlough scheme did a good job of keeping staff attached to employers while unable to work. We now need to see the Government bring forward ways to support people back into their workplaces through the short-term economic uncertainty ahead.”

Richard Holt, of Oxford Economics, said: “The resolution of trade negotiations with the EU will be particularly important for regions like Yorkshire and Humber, with its important manufacturing sector and reliance on exports.

"Hopefully the Government’s Industrial Strategy can be refocused on strengthening the region’s recovery.”