Unemployment - Younger workers bear brunt of job losses amid Covid crisis

  • 11 months   ago

Younger workers have borne the brunt of the job losses during the Covid crisis, official figures show, as the unemployment rate continues to rise.

The UK's jobless rate rose to 5.1% in the three months to December, the Office for National Statistics said, the highest for almost five years.

 

The figures show 726,000 fewer people are currently in payrolled employment than before the start of the pandemic.

Almost three-fifths of this fall, 425,000, were younger than 25 years.

The ONS said 1.74 million people were unemployed in the October to December period, up 454,000 from the same quarter in 2019.

However, the UK's statistics body said that there were some "tentative early signs" of the labour market stabilising. There was a small increase in the numbers of employees paid through payroll over the past couple of months.

In January 2021, 83,000 more people were in payrolled employment when compared with the previous month.

Average pay, including bonuses, rose by 4.7% in the three months to December from the previous year. But statisticians said this was partly because of the disproportionate fall in the number of young, typically lower-paid workers. Adjusting for this, the ONS said underlying wage growth was "likely to be under 3%".

"Our survey shows that the unemployment rate has had the biggest annual rise since the financial crisis," said Jonathan Athow, ONS deputy national statistician for economic statistics.

"However, the proportion of people who are neither working nor looking for work has stabilised after rising sharply at the start of the pandemic, with many people who lost their jobs early on having now started looking for work."

Despite this, Mr Athow told the BBC's Today programme that the true underlying picture was not yet clear due to the high number of people still on furlough.

He said figures from early February suggested that about six million people were currently furloughed, adding: "There is a huge amount of uncertainty about what will happen to them when that scheme ends."

The Bank of England is forecasting that the unemployment rate will rise sharply, peaking at an estimated 7.8% later in the year.

Source: BBC

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