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Covid: 782,000 people have lost their jobs in UK since March

The number of UK employees has decreased by 782,000 between March and October as a result of the Covid pandemic.

Unemployment has risen by 782,000 in the UK since March

The number of UK employees has decreased by 782,000 between March and October as a result of the Covid pandemic, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has announced.

UK Covid Job Cuts

314,000 people lost their jobs in the three months up to September 2020 as redundancies reached a record high, up 181,000 on the quarter.

The overall UK unemployment rate was 4.8%, up 0.9 percent on last year The ONS said that 1.62 million people were unemployed, 318,000 more than last year. Among all the doom and gloom, available vacancies shot up 146,000 to 525,000 compared to the three months before.

The head of economics at the British Chambers of Commerce, Suren Thiru, said: “While there was a rise in the number of job vacancies, this is more likely to reflect a temporary bounce as the economy reopened before recent restrictions were reintroduced, rather than a meaningful upturn in demand for labour. The extension to the furlough scheme will safeguard a significant number of jobs in the near term. However, with firms facing another wave of severely diminished cashflow and revenue and with gaps in Government support persisting, further substantial rises in unemployment remain likely in the coming months.

Average pay for those who have kept their jobs increased 1.9%. The public sector saw the highest growth in total pay, at 3.7%. On the other hand, pay cuts were seen in the construction sector (3.9%), the wholesaling, retailing, hotels and restaurants sector (0.5%), and manufacturing (0.2%).

Jonathan Athow, ONS deputy national statistician for economic statistics 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.”

The winding down of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s furlough scheme provoked a spike in redundancies. That trend will decelerate now he has reintroduced it until March.

Chief economist at Equals Money, Jeremy Thomson Cook, said: With the furlough scheme now extended until the end of March, the labour market has once again been put back to sleep by the Chancellor preventing a rude awakening as we head into winter. Unfortunately, a record level of 341,000 redundancies in the past few months show that for many people the additional government support came too late to save their roles. These figures will do nothing to alleviate fears that the UK is headed for a double-dip recession should lockdowns continue.”


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