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Support helps ease impact of COVID restrictions on UK jobs market

The jobs crisis caused by the pandemic may be easing, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.

The number of workers on company payrolls in the UK climbed by 200,000 in the three months to February – although that is still 693,000 lower than last February, before COVID lockdown measures began.

People aged under 25 continue to bear the brunt of the job losses, although the unemployment rate stood at 5%, down from 5.1% previously.

Suren Thiru, Head of Economics for the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “The continued uptick in the timelier payroll employment data indicates that the UK jobs market is becoming more resilient.

“Ongoing wage support, greater clarity provided by the Government’s roadmap and the adaptations made by some firms to operate under lockdown restrictions helped support higher payroll employment in February.

“Extending furlough will limit the peak in job losses. However, with many firms struggling with the damage done to their cashflow by a year of COVID restrictions, unemployment is likely to remain on an upward trajectory until well beyond a full reopening of the economy. 

“While the extension to the job support schemes will protect millions of jobs and livelihoods, it is vital that those businesses and individuals who remain excluded from Government support get the assistance they need to navigate a difficult period.”

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