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Redundancies in the UK Gathering Pace

The latest figures suggest that redundancies in the UK are now at their highest level since 2009, as the crisis provoked for the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown begins to take its toll on the employment market.

A Look at the Numbers

Current data on this subject comes from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). They have confirmed that 156,000 people in the UK lost their jobs in the 3 months leading up to July this year. This was 48,000 more than were made redundant in the 3 quarters to May.

In fact, this is the sharpest rise in unemployment levels since the crisis of 2009, as the country faces up to its toughest financial period since records began. The ONS thinks that the total number of workers who have lost their jobs since lockdown could be close to 700,000, going on early numbers from HMRC.

The government’s furlough scheme has stopped the rise in unemployment being even more drastic. Despite this, the unemployment rate still rose to 4.1% for the 3 months to the end of July, with means that around 1.4 million people were jobless by the end of that month.

This was a modest rise from the 3.9% rate seen in the period to the end of June. The current prediction from the Bank of England is that this rate will increase sharply before the end of the year. The end of the furlough scheme in October could see 2.5 million people out of work and an unemployment rate of 7.5%.

Younger Workers Are the Most Affected

Younger workers have been hardest hit by this jobs crisis. It is believed that 156,000 people between 16 and 24 years of age were among those to lose their jobs this year. This makes it the age group that has suffered the biggest decline since the crisis began.

This could be due to those younger workers being more reliant upon badly affected industries such as food service and hospitality. These are among the sectors where many companies have been paying collection agency fees to stay in business through this difficult period.

The number of people who are employed but temporarily away from their work has dropped slightly. This includes furloughed workers and the total was at 5 million in July. Out of that total, some 2.5 million of them had been away from their workplaces for at least 3 months. A further 250,000 were off work but not receiving any sort of pay.

What Happens Next?

There is growing pressure on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to increase the furlough scheme or provide some other sort of financial support for workers who have lost their employment.

The Confederation of British Industry are among those who have called for action to protect workers amid the “record fall in the number of young people in work”. The furlough scheme has covered more than 9 million jobs, and it is expected that about 1 million people are still on it when it finally comes to an end.