UK joblessness soars to 4.5% as work-protection plan nears end

UK joblessness soars to 4.5% as work-protection plan nears end”

The number of United Kingdom workers on company payrolls edged up by 20,000 last month but has fallen by almost 700,000 since March as the coronavirus crisis has claimed jobs across the economy, according to official figures.

Scotland's unemployment rate remained at 4.5% over the summer, with 124,000 people seeking work, figures show.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the number of employees on payrolls dropped by 673,000 between March and September.

LONDON, Oct 13 (Reuters) - Britain's unemployment rate rose by more than expected to 4.5% in the three months to August, up from 4.1% in the three months to July, even before the end of the government's broad coronavirus job protection plan.

An estimated 1.5 million people were out of work between June and August and employers made 227,000 redundancies, a record increase of 114,000 on the quarter.

"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", Jonathan Athow, the ONS's deputy national statistician, said.

As furlough comes to an end on 31 October thousands of people are to lose their jobs, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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With the furlough scheme ending, experts have warned that unemployment will continue to rise.

But businesses and economists are bracing themselves for mounting job losses, in spite of the follow-up support initiatives.

"There are a lot of firms re-opening and continuing to trade strongly but we do have to be aware that there are very likely more redundancies to come".

Niamh Corcoran added: "The North East urgently needs stronger economic support for the hardest hit businesses in order to protect jobs, as well as a long-term strategy for retraining and job creation. Our region needs to see swift and decisive action from Government to avoid record unemployment and long-term economic scarring".

Meanwhile in September, the Claimant Count level, an experimental statistic that seeks to measure the number of people claiming benefit principally for the reason of being unemployed, increased to 2.7 million, marking an increase of 120.3 percent, or 1.5 million, since March 2020, the ONS said.

'The Job Support Scheme may need to be beefed up if the government wants to avert further rises in unemployment'.

British finance minister Rishi Sunak has said his priority remains to slow the rising job losses although he has replaced his 50 billion-pound ($65bn) wage subsidy scheme, which expires at the end of this month, with a less generous programme.

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