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Payrolled employment rises by 160,000 after furlough scheme’s end and jobless rate falls to 4.3%

Written by on 16/11/2021

The end of the furlough scheme led to a “small” number of job losses, according to the latest figures showing improved employment but another new record high for vacancies.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported a rise of 160,000 in payrolled employment between September and October.

Treasury data had shown there were 1.14 million jobs on furlough when the scheme ended on 30 September.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, as it was officially called, had supported the wages of more than 11.7 million people since 1 March 2020 at a cost of more than £70bn as the COVID-19 pandemic forced large parts of the economy into hibernation.

Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey told MPs on Monday that it Bank had held off raising interest rates to help combat rising inflation earlier this month because policymakers had wanted to see how the jobs market had responded to the end of the furlough scheme.

The ONS said it could take a few months to fully emerge but the early evidence suggested it had held up well as the number of payrolled employees – those on PAYE (Pay As You Earn) was up by 0.8% since February 2020 – a rise of 235,000.

There was no improvement, however, in the labour shortage crisis as vacancies hit a new record high of 1.17 million.

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The unemployment rate fell to 4.3% in the three months to September from 4.5% – a deeper fall than economists had expected.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who had been urged by critics including unions and some business groups to extend furlough, said of the ONS data: “Today’s numbers are testament to the extraordinary success of the furlough scheme and welcome evidence that our Plan for Jobs has worked.

“We know how vital keeping people in good jobs is, both for them and for our economy – which is why it’s fantastic to see the unemployment rate falling for 9 months in a row and record numbers of people moving into employment.

“Our Plan for Jobs is at the heart of our vision for a stronger economy for the British people, with schemes like Kickstart and Sector Based Work Academies continuing to create opportunities for people up and down the country.”

 Sky News

© Sky News 2020

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