Kirsty Rogers, employment partner at legal business DWF, comments on the ONS unemployment figures published today. She said:
"The latest ONS figures show an estimated unemployment rate for all people was 4.5%, this represents a 0.6% increase than a year earlier and 0.4% increase than the previous quarter. Although the overall unemployment figure shows a surge, there has been little change in the number of payroll employees in the UK when compared to August 2020, with a slight increase of 20,000 in Sept 2020. While the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is still in force, it is perhaps unsurprising that the figures have not changed considerably on a month-by-month comparison however looking back to March 2020 we see that the number of payroll employees has fallen by 673,000. As expected, the Labour Force Survey has shown a decreasing employment rate since March and an increase in unemployment and the level of redundancies in recent periods with the prospect of new roles for the workforce also reducing year on year reflecting a 40% decrease in job vacancies compared to Sept 2019.
"The Governments' announcement of the three tier system encompassing strict local lockdowns coupled with the closure of the CJRS at the end of this month indicates that we can expect a more significant increase in the unemployment figures going forward. Although the Government has announced a number of measures to help save jobs from the Job Retention Bonus to the Job Support Scheme, it is questionable whether this will be enough for businesses in real difficulties. This is an incredibly challenging period for employers, longer-term strategies and support will need to be implemented to help tackle unemployment."