UK takes hold as unemployment claims surge 69 percent

The claimant count rose by 856,500 – the biggest ever month-on-month jump – to 2.097 million, a 69 percent increase, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said on Tuesday.

A measure of the number of people claiming unemployment benefits in the United Kingdom leapt to its highest level since 1996 in April, the first full month of the government’s coronavirus lockdown.

The surge would have been even sharper without a government programme to pay 80 percent of the wages of workers put on temporary leave by their employers, who do not count towards the unemployment total.

The ONS said emergency changes to the UK’s welfare system meant the claimant count number included more people who were still actually in work than normal, but the scale of the rise in claims showed the hit to the labour market.

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Coronavirus has ‘major impact on labour market’, says ONS statistician, as claimant count rises to highest since 1996.

Source: Aljezeera

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