The UK’s unemployment rate rose to 4.8% in the three months to September, up from 4.5%, as Coronavirus continued to hit the jobs market, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Redundancies rose to a record high of 314,000 in the same period as firms made more workers redundant in anticipation of the end of the furlough scheme, which was originally supposed to finish at the end of October. It has now been extended until the end of March.
Commenting on the ONS labour market statistics for November, BCC Head of Economics Suren Thiru said: “The rise in the unemployment rate and redundancies is further evidence that the damage being done to the UK jobs market by the Coronavirus pandemic is intensifying.
“While there was a rise in the number of job vacancies, this is more likely to reflect a temporary bounce as the economy reopened before recent restrictions were reintroduced, rather than a meaningful upturn in demand for labour.
“The extension to the furlough scheme will safeguard a significant number of jobs in the near term. However, with firms facing another wave of severely diminished cashflow and revenue and with gaps in Government support persisting, further substantial rises in unemployment remain likely in the coming months.
“Increased grant support for businesses impacted by restrictions is urgently needed to help businesses protect jobs, particularly given the delay to the job retention bonus. Closing the remaining gaps in government support, including for some self-employed and company directors must also be a key priority.”