Coronavirus wipes out 700,000 payroll jobs as unemployment rate spikes

Coronavirus wipes out 700,000 payroll jobs as unemployment rate spikes to 4.1% with 2.7million on benefits

By James Tapsfield, Political Editor For Mailonline

Published: 07:19 BST, 15 September 2020 | Updated: 07:23 BST, 15 September 2020

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Fears over a wave of coronavirus redundancies were fueled today as figures showed a spike in unemployment.

The rate rose from 3.9 per cent to 4.1 per cent in the quarter to July - the highest in two years, according to the latest official data.

The estimated increase in the rate for July alone was even higher at 0.6 per cent.

Meanwhile, some 695,000 payroll jobs have gone since March, and there are 2.7million people claiming benefits.

The details will cause concern as they cover a period when the government's massive furlough scheme is in effect - with alarming predictions of mass layoffs to come when it is withdrawn next month. 

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the number of people on payroll was down 36,000 in August from July. It is now 695,000 lower than in March. 

ONS director of economic statistics Darren Morgan said there were some bright points in the figures - with the employment rate actually creeping up - but coronavirus was having a 'big impact'

ONS director of economic statistics Darren Morgan said there were some bright points in the figures - with the employment rate actually creeping up - but coronavirus was having a 'big impact'

ONS director of economic statistics Darren Morgan said there were some bright points in the figures - with the employment rate actually creeping up - but coronavirus was having a 'big impact'.

'Some effects of the pandemic on the labour market were beginning to unwind in July as parts of the economy reopened,' he said.

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