Commenting on the ONS labour market figures for September 2020, published today, BCC head of economics Suren Thiru said:
“Despite the slight rise in the unemployment rate, the furlough scheme continues to limit the pandemic’s full impact on headline job figures.
However, the decline in employees on payrolls and the rise in the claimant count in August as the furlough scheme began to taper is a clear warning that the full impact of coronavirus on the UK labour market is yet to come.
“While there was a rise in the number of job vacancies, this is more likely to reflect a temporary bounce as the economy gradually opened, rather than a meaningful upturn in demand for labour. With many firms are still facing waves of cash flow problems, rising costs and an uncertain economic outlook, it is probable that unemployment will escalate sharply as government support winds down.
“To help avoid a damaging cliff edge for jobs more must be done help firms keep staff on through this deeply challenging period. This should include a significant cut in employer National Insurance Contributions and more substantial support for firms placed under local lockdowns.”