Latest labour market statistics show a sharp rise in unemployment and redundancies

The CIPD responds to the official job figures, covering July to September 2020 

Unemployment though low by historic standards at 4.8%, rose sharply by 0.7 percentage points on the quarter. Redundancies reached a record high of 314,000 suggesting that unemployment will continue to rise over the winter.  

There were some gains. The number of vacancies increased on the quarter as did hours worked. This reflected the easing of lockdown restrictions. Vacancies were still about a third lower (34.6%) than a year earlier. 

Jonathan Boys, CIPD Labour Market Economist comments: 

“A modest recovery in hours worked reflects the summer reopening when large numbers of people gradually moved off furlough. Some sectors were able to make hay while the sun shone, but we now know coronavirus cases were rising. Furlough helped to limit jobs losses and protected incomes, and it is therefore right that the Government has extended it until the end of March - especially in light of promising news on a vaccine. This will boost business confidence and help stabilise employment through to the spring. Businesses now have a scheme that they understand and a reasonable timeframe in which to conduct workforce planning.  

“However, unemployment rose sharply this quarter and redundancies increased by a record number. The CIPD’s latest forward-looking Labour Market Outlook report suggests that redundancy activity will remain high in the 3 months to December and could therefore surpass the total number experienced after the financial crash. The economic pain of the pandemic has been cushioned by furlough and other government support schemes but will start to increase over the winter. We believe the Government needs to do more to help people upskill and reskill beyond what’s been outlined in the Kickstart scheme and Lifetime Skills Guarantee. This includes reforming the Apprenticeship Levy and increasing access to lifelong learning.”  

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