The UK labor market was almost frozen at the end of 2020, with unemployment rising, and a surge in Covid-19 infections put resumptions on hold, starting to halt previous hiring.
The unemployment rate was up 0.4 percentage points over the previous quarter to 5.1% in the three months until December, and is consistent with expectations, official statistics said Tuesday. The 75% employment rate was 1.5 percentage points lower than a year ago, and the number of employees employed was down 541,000.
This figure suggests that the extension of the government’s additional plans helped limit redundancy. They will step up calls from businesses and unions to extend support after they have started to reduce the risk of further surges in job losses as the economy resumes.
“The government must provide ongoing help. . . Next week’s budget should provide a bridge for businesses to start the sizing and re-hiring process,” said Tej Parikh, Senior Economist at the Institute of Directors.
Ben Harrison, Director of the Work Foundation, said, “It is very important that support measures are maintained for as long as they are needed so that workers and employers do not face the edge of the cliff as restrictions are eased.”
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in response to the data, “I focused on doing everything I can to protect jobs and livelihoods throughout the crisis.” Next week’s budget.
The headline unemployment rate does not reflect the actual degree of sluggish labor market.
Real-time payroll data collected by HM Revenue & Customs shows that despite a slight increase over the past two months, employee jobs in the UK have declined 2.5% compared to last February by 726,000. The biggest decline in paid employees was between 18 and 24 years old.
It also said that in December more than 300,000 people left their jobs due to the epidemic and were not paid. ONS said that in early December, about 10% of its workforce had been asked to take a leave of absence, and if a recent lockdown was taken in January, nearly twice this number was on leave.
Employment activities, which have improved since the summer, have also started to slow down as renewals hit the hospitality industry, ONS said. The number of jobs from three months to January was 26% lower than the pre-epidemic level, and improvement has slowed since the summer over the past few months.
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