Unemployment in East of England highest for two years with 122,000 jobless

There has been a rise in unemployment in the East of England and the East Midlands. Credit: PA Images

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has begun to hit the job market in the Anglia region with a rise in unemployment.

The latest figures from the Office of National Statistic show there were 122,000 unemployed people in the East of England in the April to June period. That is a rise of 2,000 people compared with the previous quarter.

It is the highest total in the region since January 2018. It is 3.8% of the workforce without a job.

There were now 27,000 people without a job in the East of England compared with the same period last year.

The situation is more severe in the East Midlands, which includes Northamptonshire and Lincolnshire. There were 107,000 out of work, which is an increase of 13,000 people compared to the previous quarter. The unemployment rate is 4.3% of the workforce.

Around 730,000 UK workers have been removed from the payrolls of British companies since March when the coronavirus lockdown began, according to the new data from the Office for National Statistics.

The ONS said that employment rates have continued to decline in the last month, as another 81,000 jobs fell off payrolls across the country.

Yet the official unemployment rate is not rising. To be counted among the unemployed, workers need to be actively looking for a new job, which many have decided not to do yet, the ONS said.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak: "I've always been clear that we can't protect every job" Credit: PA Images

Experts are worried that the full extent of Britain's jobs problems has been hidden by the Government's furlough scheme, which promised to cover 80% of the salaries of staff who could not work because of lockdown.

These furloughed workers are still considered to be employed, but many worry they will have no job to come back to when the scheme winds down.

The furlough scheme ends in October, though the Government has promised a £1,000 per employee bonus to any company that brings back furloughed staff and keeps paying them until January.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak said: "Today's labour market stats make it clear that our unprecedented support measures, including the furlough and self-employed support schemes, are working to safeguard millions of jobs and livelihoods that could otherwise have been lost.

"I've always been clear that we can't protect every job, but through our Plan For Jobs we have a clear plan to protect, support and create jobs to ensure that nobody is left without hope."