NEARLY 220,000 people in the region are on furlough or claiming unemployment benefits, according to latest data.

As of the end of December, 112,800 roles in West Yorkshire had been furloughed – equivalent to 11 per cent of eligible jobs – while the number of people claiming out-of-work benefits had risen 0.7 per cent from November to 106,300.

The figures, published by the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, equate to 11.5 per cent of the region’s 1.9 million-strong workforce.

Partnership chairman, Roger Marsh, said: “With over one in ten people in the region’s workforce unemployed or on furlough, the latest economic data makes for sobering reading. But we’re seeing some tentative green shoots, with rising job vacancies and businesses showing resilience in these trying circumstances – plus sustained interest from companies wanting to invest in the region.

“We hope that the roll-out of the vaccine is a shot in the arm. We are doing all we can to help and support businesses through this time.”