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Young people hit by rising unemployment rate

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The unemployment rate in the UK is at its highest level in two years, official figures show.

The unemployment rate rose to 4.1% in the three months ending July, from 3.9% previously.

Young people were particularly affected, with those aged 16 to 24 having experienced the largest decline in employment compared to other age groups.

Companies continue to take staff off payrolls as they prepare for the end of the government leave program.

There were 156,000 fewer young people employed in the three months to July, new data showed.

Some 695,000 UK workers have disappeared from UK business payrolls since March, when the coronavirus lockdown began.

The government’s job maintenance program will start to shrink next month before ending on October 31.

ONS director of economic statistics Darren Morgan said there were signs of a ‘reopening’ of the economy in July, with businesses including restaurants, pubs and hairdressers being re-authorized to operate. trade.

“Nonetheless, with the number of employees on the payroll falling again in August and unemployment and layoffs rising sharply in July, it is clear that the coronavirus is still having a significant impact on the world of work,” said he declared.

Paul Dales, UK chief economist for the Capital Economics research group, said he expected “employment will decline more sharply and unemployment will rise faster as the leave program continues to decline. take place and will stop at the end of October “.

Unfortunately, this is the start of the increase in official unemployment figures, just before the phasing out of the holiday scheme.

While the overall unemployment rate has risen to 4.1%, it remains low by historical and international standards.

However, digging a little deeper shows a bigger increase from 0.5% to 4.4% in July alone. And in the last week of July, it rose to 4.8%.

This is the start of what economists and academics expect for a sustained rise. The good news so far is that, so far, the vast majority of workers who were previously on leave appear to have returned to work.

The other very notable feature is that the overall three-month average increase in unemployment, although still small, was largely the result of the loss of youth employment.

Layoffs have also reached their highest level since the aftermath of the financial crisis. Employment remained at an all time high, however, and hours worked and vacancies showed a slight recovery after massive falls during the lockdown.

So the climb started slowly, but the concern now is where exactly is it going?

‘It was the push I needed’

Orrean Jacob recently lost the job he had done for nine years working at the Mini Car Factory in Oxford as an agency employee.

“They decided to let people go, and I was one of them,” he says. Hundreds of factory workers have been affected.

“It really hurts. When you go to work it’s not just about money or salary. It’s about doing something yourself, making friends and making connections. . “

Although he found himself in a situation similar to many others during the pandemic, a phone call with a friend gave him an opportunity. They recommended that he contact the HS2 rail project about their week-long training programs.

At the end of the following week, he obtained a full license to be on-site and drive a forklift, after completing a course worth around 1,000 with one of HS2’s contractors.

“It was just the push I needed in the right direction – to find something new, to find a new way to go because the other one was clearly not working.”

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