UK jobless rate hits 5%; redundancies reach record high – business live

UK unemployment rate rises to four-year high with 828,000 jobs gone since start of pandemic; IMF releases its World Economic Outlook later 7.36am GMT

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UK unemployment rate rises to four-year high with 828,000 jobs gone since start of pandemic; IMF releases its World Economic Outlook later

Here are some of the other key findings in the UK labour market figures:

Looking past the predictably grim headlines, there’s some good news in the UK labour market data.

The single month and weekly estimates show #unemployment leveled out in November itself.

Early estimates for December suggest that the number of people on payrolls rose by 52,000.

Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.

We’ve woken up to news that the UK’s unemployment rate rose to 5% in the three months to November – up from 4.9%, and the first time it’s been that high in more than four years, according to the the Office for National Statistics. Analysts had expected it to rise even further, to 5.1%.

The latest monthly tax figures show that there were over 800,000 fewer employees on payroll in December than last February. More detailed data, published for the first time, show that parts of London have seen the steepest percentage falls, followed by North Eastern Scotland.

In the three months to November, on our survey data, the employment rate fell sharply again, while the unemployment rate rose to hit 5% for the first time in over four years.

This crisis has gone on far longer than any of us hoped – and every job lost as a result is a tragedy. Whilst the NHS is working hard to protect people with the vaccine we’re throwing everything we’ve got at supporting businesses, individuals and families.

Our Plan for Jobs includes grants and loans so that firms can keep employees on, the furlough scheme to help protect jobs, and programmes like Kickstart alongside record investment in skills so that people can find their first job, their next job or a new job if needed.

US markets, on the other hand, have continued to defy gravity after another choppy session, with the Nasdaq once again helping to underpin sentiment with another record close, helped by optimism over the start of earnings season for big tech starting today with Microsoft, and tomorrow with Apple.

The main focus this week is still focussed on the conclusion of this week’s Fed meeting, against a backdrop of renewed partisan bickering over the size of the next stimulus bill, which may well come in below the initial $1.9trn headline numbers of a couple of weeks ago.

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