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Redundancies hit record high of 370,000 between August and October

independent– Redundancies surged to a record high of 370,000 in the third quarter of the year with young people hit hardest, official figures show.

The number of UK workers on payrolls dropped slightly last month and has fallen by 819,000 between February and November due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the Office for National Statistics said.

A third of those jobs losses have been in the hospitality industry which yesterday renewed its calls for more financial support as thousands more pubs, bars and restaurants were told they must close under tier 3 restrictions.

Some 1.7 million people are officially unemployed meaning they are out of work and actively seeking a job. The unemployment rate rose to 4.9 per cent in October, up from 3.7 per cent before the pandemic. People aged 16 to 24 were most likely to lose their jobs while 35 to 49-year-olds were safest from redundancy.

ONS director of economic statistics Darren Morgan said the figures showed there had been “a further weakening in the labour market”.

“In the three months to October, employment was still falling sharply and unemployment was rising, but the number of people neither working nor looking for work was little changed.

“Average hours per worker were continuing to recover, though this was before the second lockdown in England.

“While there was another record rise in redundancies in the latest three months as a whole, they began to ease during October.”

Total weekly hours worked – considered by some economists to be the best measure of the labour market during the pandemic  – remained down almost 10 per cent at 960 million.

However, that was up by 104.9 million hours compared with the three months to July when many shops, pubs and restaurants were closed.

The claimant count, which includes people working with low income and hours as well as people who are not working, increased slightly to 2.7 million.

The figures came for the period shortly before England entered into a second national lockdown.

As a result, the Government decided to extend its furlough scheme until March next year, ensuring that employees who cannot work will get up to 80% of their salaries.

Minister for employment Mims Davies said: “It’s been a truly challenging year for many families but with a vaccine beginning to roll out with more perhaps to follow and the number of job vacancies increasing, there is hope on the horizon for 2021.”

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