Today saw the publication of national and local unemployment statistics. As expected, the data make grim reading. It shows people in the local job market have lost their jobs and people hoping to get into employment are struggling to get a job. The latest data for July show that 385 people in Ludlow were claiming employment related benefits. A year ago, just 165 people were claiming. That’s a huge leap for a small town like ours. In Ludlow, the claimant rate in June was 6.8%. That’s higher that the rate for Great Britain (6.3%) and nearly half as big again as the rate across Shropshire (4.6%). That’s bad news. Although the doubling of 185 claimants in May to 385 this is undoubtedly down to the Covid-19 epidemic, we must be concerned that local jobs could be lost permanently as the nation’s economy weakens.