Economy

Coronavirus has 'major impact' on jobs as unemployment increases by 50,000

Coronavirus has 'major impact' on jobs as unemployment increases by 50,000”

Unemployment claims in Britain jumped 69 per cent in April, as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold and hit the labor market, United Kingdom authorities said Tuesday.

The claimant count rose by 856,500 - the biggest ever month-on-month jump - to 2.097 million, a 69% increase, the Office for National Statistics said.

Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician for economic statistics at the ONS, said: "While only covering the first weeks of restrictions, our figures show Covid-19 is having a major impact on the labour market".

Workers remain employed but can not work for their employer under the first phase of the scheme, with the latest figures capturing their stark drop in working hours at the end of March.

Return to work after furlough won't be simple, expert warns At the same time, the number of job vacancies also fell dramatically, with the empty posts in the three months to April diving by 170,000 to 637,000, compared to the previous quarter.

In another sign of the bleak economic landscape, the number of job vacancies fell to 637,000 in three months to April, the sharpest fall in nearly 20 years.

Tax data showed the number of employees fell by 1.6% in April from March, equivalent to the loss of almost 450,000 jobs.

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But Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey said the situation would be worse if it was not for the government's Job Retention Scheme.

The unemployment rate was estimated at 3.9 per cent, slightly down on the previous quarter, the ONS said.

April's surge would have been even sharper without an emergency government program to pay 80 per cent of the wages of 8 million employees - or about one in four workers - put on temporary leave, who are not counted as unemployed.

"Unfortunately these claimants will now discover the United Kingdom has one of the weakest out-of-work safety nets in the developed world".

The number of people claiming unemployment benefit soared by a record level last month, as the United Kingdom economy was bought to a standstill due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ONS labour force survey also shows a rise in the number of workers stating they are temporarily away from work, which could include those off sick.

"It's clear that, without the Government's furlough scheme, the picture would have rapidly deteriorated even further".



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