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UK unemployment rate highest in 3 years, number of Brits made redundant largest since 2009

The lingering coronavirus pandemic and ensuing lockdowns hit UK jobs particularly hard between June and August, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has acknowledged.

Cash-strapped businesses had to make tough decisions including slashing their workforce, which resulted in 138,000 more people being recorded as jobless than in the previous quarter, a fresh ONS survey revealed. Consequently, the unemployment rate has risen to 4.5 percent, or 1.52 million, in the three months up to August.

This is a jump from the 4.1 percent recorded in the three months up to July, and the biggest number since 2017.

ONS statisticians also warned that the Claimant Count has skyrocketed by over 120 percent since March. As of September, 2.7 million Britons, both unemployed and working with low income or hours, asked for benefits.

That adds to the fact that more people have been made redundant from their jobs in the UK than at any point since May-July 2009. As the current government furlough scheme ends on October 31, a recent YouGov poll showed that more than a third of UK firms plan to make some staff redundant over the next three months.

Earlier this week, the UK government announced an array of local lockdown measures, with the toughest to include bars and gyms being shut down. This has aggravated fears that the tiered restrictions would add to the growing number of job losses.

Also on Tuesday, Chancellor Rishi Sunak warned that the government will not be able “to save every job.” Those who are out of work will be offered apprenticeships and traineeships on a par with “extra work search support.”

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