"A proportion of the figures reported relate to a period of time when employers were expecting the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) to end on 31 October 2020, it is perhaps unsurprising that we have seen a negative impact on the employment figures. In addition, the four-week lockdown in November 2020 resulted in further difficulties for employers.
"News that the CJRS has been extended to the end of April 2021 should help to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on job losses in the next three months. Unfortunately, this extended support is not enough for some businesses, which are already in financial crisis, particularly those in hospitality and retail. As the impact of the third national lockdown takes its toll, we can expect further redundancies.
"Early estimates for December 2020 indicate that the number of payrolled employees fell by 2.7% compared with December 2019. Coupled with this there were 224,000 fewer vacancies than a year ago. As stricter coronavirus, restrictions remain in place we can expect unemployment to increase in the coming months.
"However, with the CJRS in place until the end of April 2021 and the mass vaccination programme in full swing, it is hoped that this will instil confidence in employers going forward. If businesses are able to endure the next three months, utilising government support, the employment figures should stabilise."