Saturday, 28 Nov 2020

More than 782,000 have lost their jobs since first lockdown, figures show

UK unemployment has risen again amid harsh coronavirus restrictions, according to new figures which show 782,000 people lost their jobs between March and October.

Unemployment was at 4.8% among those aged 16 and over between July and September – a growth of 0.7% on the previous three months, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Though the full impact of new Covid-19 lockdowns are not yet seen in the figures, they show that around 33,000 people were dropped from payrolls at UK employers last month, as the pandemic continues to weigh on the economy. They also suggest a recovery from the previous lockdown, with total hours worked growing by almost 10% compared with July and September, following the easing of restrictions.

In the three months to September, redundancies were at a record high of 314,000, the official statisticians revealed.

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It came even as payrolls increased slightly in September itself.

ONS deputy national statistician for economic statistics Jonathan Athow said: ‘The latest monthly tax numbers show over three-quarters of a million fewer employees on the payroll in October than in March.

‘Unemployment grew sharply in the three months to September, with many of those who lost their jobs earlier in the pandemic beginning to look for work again. The number of redundancies has also reached a record high.

‘Vacancies continued to recover from the very low numbers seen earlier in the year. However, these figures predate the reintroduction of restrictions in many parts of the UK.’

Amid harsh coronavirus restrictions across the UK, including a month-long lockdown in England, the news that more than three quarters of a million people lost their jobs since the pandemic began in March will be a major concern to many workers.

However, the Government have confirmed that the furlough scheme will remain in place until March, and yesterday news that a possible vaccine is thought to be ‘90% effective’ boosted economic confidence.

This is a breaking story – more to follow.

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