Unemployment increased in the three months to July by 60,000, to a level of 1.4 million. The u rate moved higher to 4.1% compared to 3.9%. Despite the increase, the employment rate was actually higher. 33.0 million were in work, compared to 32.8 million over the same period last year.
Vacancies in the economy continued to rally from the June floor. The number of vacancies increased to 434,000 up from 341,000 in June, still well off the high of 820,000 in February this year.
Job levels within the economy continue to be supported by the Government furlough scheme. The number of people estimated to be away from work, temporarily, was around 5 million in July. Some evidence suggests this number may have fallen to around 3 million at the end of last month.
The overall picture is confusing, with fears of a radical job loss by the end of the year of great concern. The claimant count increased to 2.7 million by the end of August, an increase of 1.5 million since March. Redundancies are on the increase.
Early indicators suggest the number of employees on UK payrolls was down by 695,000 compared to March according to the ONS. The number of unemployed may have already increased to 2 million. The u rate may have risen to almost 6%.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer is under pressure to extend the furlough scheme. The Treasury is reluctant to continue support in the current form. Rishi Sunak told the BBC this week, looking for new ways to protect jobs is his "number one priority". Finding innovative solutions was top of mind.
Let's hope shutting down the economy for a two week "fire break" doesn't feature in the plans. The Prime Minister announced this week, the second wave is coming. Yes Labour and Tories are neck and neck in the polls ...
That's all for this week! Have a great, safe, week-end ...
The Saturday Economist
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