Unemployment hits 673,000 since March but number of workers and vacancies slightly increases in September

THE number of workers who've lost jobs since March has hit 673,000due to the impact of coronavirus but vacancies are up in September.

An estimated 1.52million people were unemployed between June to August, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates – 209,000 more than a year earlier and 138,000 more than the previous three months.

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It means the UK's unemployment rate has risen to 4.5% in the three months to August, up from 4.3% in the three months to July.

The number of redundancies also continued to increase over the period, up by 113,000 in June to August compared to the same time last year, and up by a record 114,000 on the quarter, to 227,000. 

Meanwhile, those claiming work-related benefits – both those working with low income or hours and those who are not working – reached 2.7million.

But despite a rise in unemployment over a quarterly basis, on a monthly basis the number of staff on payroll is up by 20,000 in September compared to August, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

What are my redundancy rights?

BEFORE making you unemployed, your employer should still carry out a fair redundancy process.

You are entitled to be consulted on the redundancy lay-off first and to receive a statutory redundancy payment, as long as you've been working somewhere for at least two years.

How much you're entitled to depends on your age and length of service, although this is capped at 20 years. You'll get:

  • Half a week’s pay for each full year you were under 22,
  • One week’s pay for each full year you were 22 or older, but under 41,
  • One and half week’s pay for each full year you were 41 or older.

Sadly, you won't be entitled to a payout if you've been working for your employer for fewer than two years.

There should be a period of collective consultation as well as time for individual ones if your employer wants to make 20 or more employees redundant within 90 days or each other.

You are also entitled to appeal the decision by claiming unfair dismissal within three months of being let go.

Estimates for June to August 2020 show 32.59million people aged 16 years and over in employment, although that's still 102,000 fewer than a year earlier and 153,000 fewer than the previous quarter.

Vacancies also showed signs of a recovery, from a record low of 343,000 in April to June, to an estimated record quarterly increase of 144,000 to 488,000 vacancies in July to September.

But they still remain below the pre-coronavirus pandemic levels and are 332,000 (40.5%) less than a year ago.

Annual growth in employee pay in August 2020 was also seen at a rate of 0.8% as employees continued to return to work from furlough.

Wages had been fallen in the months since April when growth was affected by lower pay for furloughed employees, and reduced bonuses.

Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician at the ONS, said: "Since the start of the pandemic there has been a sharp increase in those out of work and job hunting but more people telling us they are not actively looking for work.

"There has also been a stark rise in the number of people who have recently been made redundant."

Jeremy Thomson-Cook, chief economist at currency firm Equals Money added: “The wider unemployment rate has ticked higher but remains heavily sedated by the furlough scheme and we expect a push towards the 9% level – a doubling of current unemployment levels – in the coming six to 12 months."

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