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ONS: 782,000 fewer people in employment compared to March

Jake Carter

November 10, 2020

An estimated 782,000 fewer people are in payrolled employment compared to March 2020, according to data collected by ONS.

Moreover, 33,000 fewer people were in payrolled employment between September and October 2020.

Looking to the data, in the three months to September 2020, redundancies reached a record high of 314,000, which represents an increase of 181,000 on the quarter.

The UK employment rate in the three months to September 2020 was estimated at 75.3%, which is 0.8% less year-on-year, and 0.6% lower on a quarterly basis.

Furthermore, the UK unemployment rate in the three months to September 2020 was estimated at 4.8%, which is 0.9% higher than a year earlier, and 0.7% up on the previous quarter.

However, there were an estimated 525,000 vacancies in the UK in August to October 2020, which is 278,000 annually, and 146,000 more than the previous quarter.

Richard Pike, sales and marketing director at Phoebus Software, said: “The UK appears to be on an employment knife-edge.

“The sharp rise in redundancies, coupled with rising unemployment and benefit claimants, will put further pressure on lenders in terms of forbearance measures required to manage borrowers through these turbulent times.

“We await to see the full effect the governments’ U-turn on the furlough scheme will have, but with the extension until March, it is clear that the government does not see any significant COVID-19 improvement before Q2 next year.”

Aude Barral, co-founder of CodinGame, added: “Retraining has never been higher up the agenda and, with the ink still wet on news that a vaccine may be just around the corner, the unemployment figures are a sobering reminder of how far the country has to climb.

“Redundancies have leapt and unemployment has jumped. This is all happening well ahead of the end of the furlough scheme, which is going to focus minds on how far the UK jobs market could deteriorate with more than four months left to run until the end of government support.

“Vacancies and job seekers counts are still incredibly weak by historic standards and it would not be surprising to see the government begin to think not in terms of financial support, but more practical measures to help people out of one career and into another.”

Jack Kennedy, UK economist Indeed, said: “Two things are clear from the UK labour market’s mixed signals – the pain of job losses is being felt unevenly, but the chancellor’s furlough medicine appears to be working.

“During the last quarter, the number of 16 to 24-year-olds in work plunged by 174,000 to reach its lowest ever level.

“Elsewhere the pace of redundancies accelerated in autumn as the furlough scheme was watered down. A record 314,000 people lost their jobs in the third quarter, more than double the number made redundant in the second quarter of the year and surpassing the previous 2009 peak.

“And yet there are some encouraging signs in this jobs report. Nearly a quarter of a million people have returned to the labour market, in the largest net flow from economic inactivity to unemployment on record.

“Most encouraging of all are the signs that employers are hiring again. In the three months to October there were more than half a million vacancies across the UK – a jump of 146,000 on the previous quarter.”


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