UK unemployment jumps to 4.5% on virus fallout

Agence France-Presse

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UK unemployment jumps to 4.5% on virus fallout

A shopper walks along a near-deserted street in Manchester, England, on October 13, 2020. - The British government faced renewed pressure on October 13, after indications it had ignored scientific advice three weeks ago for tougher restrictions to cut rising coronavirus infections. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP)


An analyst says the United Kingdom labor market 'has been somewhat weaker than previously thought' and fresh restrictions may mean 'worse lies ahead'

Britain’s unemployment rate has jumped to 4.5% as the coronavirus pandemic continues to destroy jobs, official data showed on Tuesday, October 13.

The reading for the June-August period compared with an unemployment rate of 4.1% for May to July, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement.

Early estimates for September meanwhile “suggest that there is little change in the number of payroll employees in the UK; up 20,000 compared with August,” the ONS said. 

Since the start of the UK pandemic in March, the number of payroll employees has dived by a net 673,000, the data showed.

“The latest batch of data show that the labor market has been somewhat weaker than previously thought and that the fallout from the COVID-19 recession is intensifying,” noted Paul Dales, chief UK economist at Capital Economics research group.

“What’s more, the prospect of the latest COVID-19 restrictions leading to the economic recovery stalling, if not going into reverse, means worse lies ahead.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday, October 12, tightened virus control measures as the UK experiences a surge in cases.

The northwest English city of Liverpool was the first area to be designated at “very high risk” under a new 3-tiered system.

From Wednesday, October 14, Liverpool will see inter-household mixing banned indoors and in private gardens – while pubs, bars, gyms, betting shops, and casinos will close.

This has dealt a further huge blow to the hospitality sector and comes as the UK government’s virus furlough scheme paying the bulk of wages for millions of workers is replaced from November by a watered-down scheme.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, last week warned that more than 560,000 jobs would be lost to the sector this year as the pandemic kills trade in bars, hotels, nightclubs, pubs, and restaurants.

Britain’s death toll from the virus is the highest in Europe at almost 43,000. – Rappler.com

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