UK jobless rate creeps up to 5 per cent as employment slides
UK jobless rate creeps up to 5 per cent – the highest since 2016 – as employment slides with 800,000 fewer people on payroll than before the pandemic struck.. but the true damage is being masked by furlough
- ONS figures show unemployment has hit 5 per cent, highest level since 2016
- Employment has fallen as the economy is battered by the coronavirus pandemic
- True scale of damage to the UK is still being masked by the huge furlough bailout
The UK’s jobless rate has crept up to 5 per cent – the highest level since 2016 – as employment slides, it was revealed today.
Official figures showed the unemployment rate was up 0.6 percentage points between September and November compared to the previous quarter.
Meanwhile, the employment rate was down 0.4 points quarter-on-quarter. And the numbers on payroll was 828,000 lower than the level last February 2020 – although it rose slightly in December.
However, it seems the true scale of the damage to the jobs market is still being masked by the huge furlough scheme.
Official figures showed the unemployment rate was up 0.6 percentage points between September and November compared to the previous quarter
ONS head of economic statistics Sam Beckett said: ‘The latest monthly tax figures show that there were over 800,000 fewer employees on payroll in December than last February. More detailed data, published for the first time, show that parts of London have seen the steepest percentage falls, followed by North Eastern Scotland.
‘In the three months to November, on our survey data, the employment rate fell sharply again, while the unemployment rate rose to hit 5% for the first time in over four years.
‘The number of people saying they had been made redundant in the previous three months remains at a record high. Meanwhile vacancies, which were rising in summer and early autumn, have been falling in the last couple of months.’
Business groups seized on the figures to reiterate their calls for furlough to be extended beyond April.
Tej Parikh, Chief Economist at the Institute of Directors, said the pandemic was ‘ripping through the labour market’.
‘A return to tighter restrictions late last year will have stretched businesses’ ability to retain staff. Meanwhile, the furlough scheme will have provided an invaluable cushion for many firms, preventing unemployment from edging up even further,’ he said.
‘It is now crucial that the Job Retention Scheme and other Covid-19 economic support is extended beyond the spring to support employment as restrictions continue.
‘The latest lockdown will have only added further pressure on firms with troubled balance sheets, which means more jobs are likely to be lost in the coming months.’
The employment rate was down 0.4 points quarter-on-quarter
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