Unemployment jumps by 50,000 to 1.35million in first weeks of coronavirus crisis – The Sun


UNEMPLOYMENT jumped by 50,000 to 1.35million in the first weeks of the coronavirus crisis.

New figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) today revealed the increase in the three months to March.

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It takes the UK employment rate over this period was the joint highest on record with 76.6 per cent of people in work.

Meanwhile, a measure of the number of people claiming unemployment benefits in Britain soared in April, the first full month of the government's coronavirus lockdown, data published on Tuesday showed.

The claimant count rose by 856,500 to 2.097 million, the Office for National Statistics said.

A Reuters poll of economists had produced a median forecast for a leap of 676,500 in the claimant count with forecasts ranging widely from just over 56,000 to as high as 1.5 million.

The ONS also said Britain's unemployment rate fell to 3.9% in the January-March period, covering only one week of the lockdown, from 4.0% in the three months to February

Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician for economic statistics at the ONS, said of the latest unemployment figure: "While only covering the first weeks of restrictions, our figures show Covid-19 is having a major impact on the labour market.

"In March employment held up well, as furloughed workers still count as employed, but hours worked fell sharply in late March, especially in sectors such as hospitality and construction.

"Through April, though, there were signs of falling employment as real-time tax data show the number of employees on companies' payrolls fell noticeably, and vacancies were sharply down too, with hospitality again falling steepest."

It comes after more than 6million Brits could find themselves unemployed by the end of May due to a "horrendous" coronavirus impact on jobs, according to research.

It means 20 per cent of Brits will be without a job – five times the current rate of 3.9 per cent.

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