UK unemployment hits 4-year high on virus fallout

Agence France-Presse
UK unemployment hits 4-year high on virus fallout

LONDON. Pedestrians walk along a busy street in London on December 15, 2020, as the city prepares to enter the highest COVID-19 restrictions, Tier 3, on December 16.

Photo by Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP

Britain's unemployment rate rises to 4.9% in August-October 2020, the highest since August 2016

Britain’s unemployment rate has struck the highest level in 4 years after the coronavirus pandemic wiped out a record amount of jobs, official data showed on Tuesday, December 15.

The rate – or proportion of the workforce that is unemployed – hit 4.9% in the 3 months to the end of October, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement.

That compared with a rate of 4.8% for the quarter to the end of September. The ONS added that the rate was last higher in August 2016, when it had stood at 5%.

Since the start of the United Kingdom pandemic in March, the number of all payroll employees has dived by 819,000 – with more than a third of this slump in the hospitality sector.

At the same time, millions of private sector workers are still receiving the bulk of their wages under the British government’s furlough jobs scheme.

The bleak update comes as London’s battered hospitality sector is set for further turmoil, with the capital experiencing tougher lockdown restrictions from Wednesday, December 16, following a surge in COVID-19 cases across the capital.

“Overall we have seen a continuation of recent trends, with a further weakening in the labor market,” said ONS Director of Economic Statistics Darren Morgan.

“While there was another record rise in redundancies in the latest 3 months as a whole, they began to ease during October,” he added.

The number of total redundancies across all sectors soared by a record 370,000 in the latest reporting period, the ONS added on Tuesday. – Rappler.com

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