Further evidence of the terrible state of the UK job market emerged today as Tesco revealed it had received more than 1,500 applications for just 92 jobs at its new Extra store in Knocknagoney, Belfast.

The unemployment rate in the area had almost doubled in the last year to 6.7%m the Belfast Telegraph reported, but still remained below the Northern Ireland average of 7.8%.

Another new Tesco store in Carrickfergus recently received more than 2,000 applicants for 85 jobs, while Asda said that since August last year it has had over 9,000 applications for just 81 new roles.

“People are diversifying because they know jobs in the industries they were in before are probably not coming back and so more people are looking into areas such as retailing,” said East Belfast councillor Jim Rodgers.