819,000 jobs lost in COVID-19 pandemic

The number of people in payrolled employment has decreased by 819,000 since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, recent figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show.

The ONS revealed that in the three months to October 2020, unemployment rates were estimated at 4.9%, 1.2% higher than the same period last year.

Redundancy levels surged to a “record high” of 370,000 in the three months to October, an increase of 217,000 on the quarter, although the number of redundancies decreased slightly in October.

The coronavirus job retention scheme was extended at the end of October, with Chancellor Rishi Sunak announcing furlough grants will continue until the end of March 2021.

Tej Parikh, chief economist at the Institute of Directors, said:

“The pandemic took its toll on the jobs market in the Autumn.

“The unwinding of the job retention scheme pushed up redundancies as firms struggled amid COVID-19 restrictions. The subsequent extension of furloughing will provide a lifeline for many jobs over the difficult winter months, but the big question is what happens after.”

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