SOARING unemployment caused by the coronavirus crisis has put thousands more Hampshire people on benefits in just a month.

There were 27,084 people claiming the benefit in the Southampton City Council area in mid-May – a rise of 4,849 on the month before.

The Universal Credit figure includes some people who are in work but on a low income, but the 21.8 per cent rise coincides with the Covid-19 pandemic laying waste to jobs.

In the New Forest, the figure rose by 33.4 per cent, up 2,424 to 9,689.

In Winchester, 1,285 more people claimed Universal Credit, a 28.2 per cent rise taking the total to 5,846.

In Eastleigh, there was a rise of 1,856 claimants, up 26.7 per cent to 8,796.

In Fareham, the number rose 38 per cent, adding 1,510 claimants to make 5,484.

In Gosport, the number was up by 1,167, or 21.9 per cent, to 6,503, and in Test Valley, there was a 32.7 per cent rise, up by 1,718 to 6,964.

Across the South East, there were 614,445 Universal Credit claimants, up 33.6 per cent. Across Britain, the claimant count was up by more than a million to 5.275million.

Employment minister Mims Davies said: “Today’s figures are starting to show the impact of Covid-19 on our economy, but our furlough scheme, grants, loans and tax cuts have protected thousands of businesses and millions of jobs, setting us up for recovery.

“Already our nationwide network of work coaches have moved in to support jobseekers across sectors and match them with employers who are recruiting. By responding to the needs of communities across the UK they will be at the heart of our revival and renewal, helping people find new roles and move forward with their lives.”

Nationally, more than 600,000 workers were revealed to have lost their jobs, with experts warning worse was to come.

The number of people temporarily away from work, including those on furlough, rose by six million at the end of March into April, hitting 8.4m at the end of April.

Yael Selfin, chief economist at KPMG UK, said: “The true impact of the crisis on the labour market is likely to only be revealed once the job retention scheme starts unwinding in the second half of the year.

“Many businesses are expected to bring only part of their furloughed workers back, while they seek to tentatively reopen after the lockdown.

“Hiring new workers is also likely to be put on hold for some time.”

The number of vacancies fell around 60 per cent between March and May, according to the Office for National Statistics.

David McArthur, employer and partnership manager for Jobcentre Plus in Hampshire and Dorset, said there were a host of virtual recruitment campaigns and digital solutions to help get people to work.

“Despite the disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak, there are still jobs out there to apply to,” he said.

“We’re here to help you get started. You can also find hints and tips on applying for jobs if you haven’t done so for a while.”

He urged people looking for work to visit and to see for further advice, including redundancy support and job search ideas. Employers can also find support at