Unemployment hits 673,000 since March but number of workers and vacancies slightly increases in September

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THE number of workers who’ve lost jobs since March has hit 673,000 due to the impact of coronavirus but vacancies are up in September.

Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates for June to August 2020 show an estimated 1.52million people were unemployed – 209,000 more than a year earlier and 138,000 more than the previous quarter.

The unemployment rate reached 4.5% in September

It means the UK’s unemployment rate has risen to 4.5% in the three months to August, up from 4.3% in the three months to July, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

The number of redundancies also continued to increase over the period, while those claiming work-related benefits – both those working with low income or hours and those who are not working – reached 2.7million.

But despite a rise in unemployment over a quarterly basis, on a monthly basis the number of staff on payroll is up by 20,000 in September compared to August, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Estimates for June to August 2020 show 32.59million people aged 16 years and over in employment, although that’s still 102,000 fewer than a year earlier and 153,000 fewer than the previous quarter.

Vacancies also showed signs of a recovery, from a record low of 343,000 in April to June, to an estimated record quarterly increase of 144,000 to 488,000 vacancies in July to September.

But they still remain below the pre-coronavirus pandemic levels and are 332,000 (40.5%) less than a year ago.

Annual growth in employee pay in August 2020 was also seen at a rate of 0.8% as employees continued to return to work from furlough.

Wages had been fallen in the months since April when growth was affected by lower pay for furloughed employees, and reduced bonuses.

Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician at the ONS, said: “Since the start of the pandemic there has been a sharp increase in those out of work and job hunting but more people telling us they are not actively looking for work.

“There has also been a stark rise in the number of people who have recently been made redundant.”

Jeremy Thomson-Cook, chief economist at currency firm Equals Money added: “The wider unemployment rate has ticked higher but remains heavily sedated by the furlough scheme and we expect a push towards the 9% level – a doubling of current unemployment levels – in the coming six to 12 months.”

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