Unemployment in East of England highest since 2015 with 150,000 jobless

Unemployment in East of England highest since the April to June quarter of 2015 Credit: PA Images

The number of unemployed people in the East of England has reached the highest level for five years according to new figures out today.

The unemployment statistics produced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that 150,000 people in the east were without work for the quarter August to October.

Unemployment in East of England

The impact of Covid-19 means the number of unemployed has risen by 22,000 on the previous quarter, meaning an unemployment rate of 4.7 per cent of the workforce, up from 3.2 per cent in the same period last year.

In the East Midlands, which covers Northamptonshire, 130,000 were out of work, a rise of 16,000 on the previous quarter with an unemployment rate of 5.3%.

Unemployment in the East Midlands

It comes as nationally more people were made redundant between August and October than at any point on record as the coronavirus pandemic continued to hammer the labour market.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said redundancies reached a record high of 370,000 in the quarter, despite a slight fall in redundancy numbers in October. Unemployment in the UK increased to 4.9% in October, up from 4.8% in the previous month.

There was some positive news though as the number out of work was still below the expectations of economists, who predicted an unemployment rate of 5.1% in October.

ONS director of economic statistics Darren Morgan said: "Overall we have seen a continuation of recent trends, with a further weakening in the labour market.

"The latest monthly tax numbers show over 800,000 fewer employees on the payroll in November than in February, with new analysis finding that over a third of this fall came from the hospitality sector.

"In the three months to October, employment was still falling sharply and unemployment was rising, but the number of people neither working nor looking for work was little changed.

"Average hours per worker were continuing to recover, though this was before the second lockdown in England.

"While there was another record rise in redundancies in the latest three months as a whole, they began to ease during October."

Meanwhile, the claimant count, which includes people working with low income and hours as well as people who are not working, increased slightly to 2.7 million.

The figures came for the period shortly before England entered into a second national lockdown.

As a result, the Government decided to extend its furlough scheme until March next year, ensuring that employees who cannot work will get up to 80% of their salaries.

Minister for employment Mims Davies said:

"It's been a truly challenging year for many families but with a vaccine beginning to roll out with more perhaps to follow and the number of job vacancies increasing, there is hope on the horizon for 2021."