Redundancies have hit record levels as more people lost their jobs between July and September than at any point on record.
Around 314,000 redundancies were registered during the three months, up by 181,000 from the quarter before, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The data suggests that unemployment in the UK reached 4.8 per cent in the three months to September, up 0.7 percentage points on the quarter before and 0.9 percentage points from a year ago.
ONS deputy national statistician for economic statistics Jonathan Athow said: ‘The latest monthly tax numbers show over three-quarters of a million fewer employees on the payroll in October than in March.
‘Unemployment grew sharply in the three months to September, with many of those who lost their jobs earlier in the pandemic beginning to look for work again. The number of redundancies has also reached a record high.
‘Vacancies continued to recover from the very low numbers seen earlier in the year. However, these figures predate the reintroduction of restrictions in many parts of the UK.’
Since these figures were recorded, the furlough scheme has been extended and the UK has re-entered various stages of lockdown.
However, the head of economics at the British Chambers of Commerce, Suren Thiru, commented that this was likely ‘to reflect a temporary bounce as the economy reopened before recent restrictions’ rather than ‘a meaningful upturn in demand for labour’.
He said: ‘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.’