UK employment falls by biggest amount in over a decade

UK employment falls by biggest amount in over a decade

UK employment falls by biggest amount in over a decade

UK unemployment has reached an unfortunate new record, as employment has fallen by the biggest amount in over a decade due to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the Office for National Statistics, employment fell dramatically between April and June, decreasing by 220,000.

This was the largest quarterly decrease since May to July 2009, during the depths of the financial crisis.

Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician at the ONS, said:

“The groups of people most affected are younger workers, 24 and under, or older workers and those in more routine or less skilled jobs.

“This is concerning, as it’s harder for these groups to find a new job or get into a job as easily as other workers.”

However, unemployment has not surged as much as feared, because large many businesses have opted to put their employees on the government-backed furlough/job retention scheme.

But this scheme ends in October, and economists fear this we will see another dip in employment.

Many large retailers have already announced job cuts.

In June alone, 140,000 redundancies were confirmed.

Jeremy Thomson-Cook, chief economist at Equals Money, said that although the figures of those out of work had been “very effectively lowered by the government’s furlough scheme”,  this means that the worst still lay ahead.

He continued:

“Unfortunately, the end of the furlough scheme will present a cliff-edge, statistically and economically, for those currently relying on government support to make up their wages.

“Longer-term government stimulus to create jobs is needed to ensure the gap between the end of the furlough scheme and a rise in employment is not larger than it needs to be.”

Official figures show that the average number of hours worked also continued to fall in April-June, reaching record lows both on the year and on the quarter.

A BBC report stated that the number of people on zero-hours contracts increased to more than one million.

Of the people forced to leave work because of the impact of the pandemic, some 300,000 also received no pay in June 2020.

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