Jobs across region take a hammering as pandemic wreaks havoc on economy

Job Centre Plus, Ipswich. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Jobs have taken a big hit from coronavirus in the eastern region, figures show Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

The number of redundancies across the UK soared by 370,000 between August and October as jobs continued to be shed amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis, official figures show.

At the same time, the East of England saw its workforce shrink by 52,319 in September 2020 compared to the same month in 2019, as the economic effects of the pandemic took their toll on the region.

On November 5, at the start of the second national lockdown, chancellor Rishi Sunak acted to shore up jobs by announcing that the furlough support scheme would be extended until the end of March next year in a bid to stem the tide.

But by then the jobs market had taken a hammering, latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures show.

During October, the unemployment rate across the UK had risen from 4.9% compared to 4.8% the previous month - although this was below what some economists had predicted.


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Across the quarter year to October, the north-east of England came out worst at 6.6%.  

In the East of England, unemployment stood at 4.7% for the same period, but this was still some way higher than the south east and Northern Ireland where it stood at 3.9% and Scotland where it was 4.2%.

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The employment rate in the east was second highest of the regions at 77.2% for the quarter, just behind the south east at 78.6%.

Overall across the UK more people were made redundant between August and October than at any point on record.

Between February and November, the number of UK workers on payrolls has fallen by 819,000 because of the pandemic, according to the ONS.

ONS director of economic statistics Darren Morgan said: "Overall we have seen a continuation of recent trends, with a further weakening in the labour market.

"The latest monthly tax numbers show over 800,000 fewer employees on the payroll in November than in February, with new analysis finding that over a third of this fall came from the hospitality sector.

"In the three months to October, employment was still falling sharply and unemployment was rising, but the number of people neither working nor looking for work was little changed.

"Average hours per worker were continuing to recover, though this was before the second lockdown in England.

"While there was another record rise in redundancies in the latest three months as a whole, they began to ease during October."

The claimant count - which includes working people on low incomes and hours as well as those out of work - rose slightly across the UK to 2.7m.


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