Today's UK Unemployment Figures Look Better Than Had Been Expected

Tuesday 16 June, 2020 Written by 
Today's UK Unemployment Figures Look Better Than Had Been Expected

UNEMPLOYMENT – The full effect of the Covid-19 pandemic has yet to be seen. The overall unemployment rate stayed at 3.9% in the three months to April. The big problem ahead is when employers must pay National Insurance and pension contributions, then 10% of pay from September, rising to 20% in October. Companies under financial pressure may start to make workers redundant.

Also, the current layoffs have yet to show in the figures.

For the three months ending April 2020, the highest employment rate estimate in the UK was in the South East (79.5%) and the lowest was in Northern Ireland (71.6%).

For the three months ending April 2020, the highest unemployment rate estimate in the UK was in the North East (5.2%) and the lowest was in Northern Ireland (2.3%); a joint record low unemployment rate.

For the three months ending April 2020, the highest economic inactivity rate estimate in the UK was in Northern Ireland (26.7%) and the lowest was in the South East (17.9%).

Between December 2019 and March 2020, the largest estimated increase in workforce jobs in the UK was in the East of England at 35,000, while the largest decrease was in the South East at 61,000.

In March 2020, the region with the highest estimated proportion of workforce jobs in the services sector was London at 91.8%, while the East Midlands had the highest proportion of jobs in the production sector at 13.2%.

The highest average estimated actual weekly hours worked, for the 12 months ending December 2019, was in London at 33.8 hours and the lowest was in the North East at 30.9 hours; for full-time and part-time workers, it was highest for both in Northern Ireland, at 38.4 hours and 17.0 hours respectively.

In Northern Ireland specifically

The March 2020 Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) was published online at 7:00am this morning. The key points are:

  • The number of (seasonally adjusted) employee jobs in March 2020 was estimated at 783,500. This was an increase of 3,120 jobs (0.4%) over the quarter and 7,930 jobs (1.0%) over the year. Neither the quarterly nor the annual changes in employee jobs were found to be statistically significant.
  • Manufacturing was the only broad industry sector to experience a decrease in employee jobs (seasonally adjusted) over the year of -1.4% (-1,220 jobs). This was the first annual decrease in manufacturing employee jobs since June 2013.
  • The numbers of (seasonally adjusted) employee jobs in the services (636,790 jobs) and other (24,450 jobs) sectors reached the highest levels on record in March 2020.
  • The two largest industry sections in the economy, wholesale and retail trade and human health and social work activities, accounted for a third of all employee jobs in March 2020.
  • The annualised growth rate of total employee jobs has fallen every quarter between March 2018 (2.3%) and March 2020 (1.2%).
  • Private sector jobs increased over the quarter (0.6% or 3,320 jobs) and increased over the year (1.0% or 5,540 jobs).
  • Public sector jobs decreased over the quarter (-0.2% or -430 jobs) but increased over the year (1.1% or 2,350 jobs). There are now 17,080 fewer public sector jobs than the series peak in September 2009 (-7.5%).
  • In the last five years, employee jobs have increased by 8.3% (60,060 jobs) and by 13.3% (92,220 jobs) from the low in March 2012.

ABC NOTE: According to Citizens Advice:

  • Between 8-12 June the charity’s frontline advisers helped one person every two minutes with a redundancy issue in England and Wales
  • Since lockdown, the number of people Citizens Advice has helped with redundancy issues has almost tripled compared to the same period last year
  • The charity’s redundancy web pages have been viewed more than half a million times during lockdown
  • On 12 June three of the top-five most-viewed advice pages were redundancy pages

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