Unemployment has climbed to 4.9% as the impact of the coronavirus on the economy begins to be felt despite massive government support programs.
The unemployment rate rose in the three months ending in October, reaching a level 0.7 percentage points higher from the previous quarter.
Meanwhile, layoffs hit an all-time high of 370,000 in the quarter – though in a silver lining, the numbers have eased slightly over the past month.
As of last month, the number of employees on the payroll was down 819,000 from the pre-February pandemic figure, despite the fall slowing down as the pandemic progressed.
The grim picture has emerged even as Rishi Sunak extended the leave program to cover most of the salaries of millions of jobs until March.
It also predates the second general foreclosure in England, which is said to have caused further devastation on businesses.
The government watchdog OBR has predicted that unemployment will hit 7.5 percent – about 2.6 million – by the middle of next year.
The unemployment rate rose in the three months ending in October, reaching a level 0.7 percentage points higher from the previous quarter
Payroll figures fell again between October and November, although the cuts were less dramatic than at the start of the crisis. The figure is now around 819,000 below the pre-pandemic level
ONS Director of Economic Statistics Darren Morgan said: “Overall, we have seen a continuation of recent trends, with further weakening of the labor market.
“The latest monthly tax figures show more than 800,000 fewer employees on payroll in November than in February, with new analysis revealing that more than a third of the drop came from the hospitality industry.
“In the three months leading up to October, employment was still falling sharply and unemployment was rising, but the number of people not working and not looking for work had changed little.
“The average number of hours per worker continued to recover, although this was before the second lockout in England.
“Although there has been another record increase in layoffs in the past three months as a whole, they started to decline in October.
Suren Thiru, head of economics at BCC group of companies, said: “The latest data confirms that the coronavirus continues to weigh heavily on the UK labor market. The reintroduction of tighter restrictions and the expected cliff edge caused by the end date of the initial leave program in October have contributed to record layoffs.
‘While the holiday program will save many jobs during the winter months, with companies facing the prospect of further restrictions and a messy end to the Brexit transition period, major job losses remain. likely in the short term.
“Failure to secure a trade deal between the UK and the EU risks adding to long-term structural unemployment caused by the pandemic by limiting the competitiveness and viability of some industries. “
Employment also fell in latest figures from the Office for National Statistics