With the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealing that the unemployment rate between July and September was 0.7 percentage points higher than the previous quarter, Tania Bowers, Legal Counsel and Head of Public Policy at the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo), has commented:
“The period between July and September was a difficult one for many, with businesses facing increased contributions to the furlough scheme that for many were simply unsustainable and an expected seasonal lull in hiring activity taking place, it’s perhaps no surprise to see that unemployment levels increased.
“However, it is important to consider these statistics in line with the furlough timeframe. We predicted that the end of the furlough scheme would result in mass redundancies as uncertainty continued to loom over the UK. For many employers, the delayed announcement of an extension to the job retention scheme meant that redundancies were already being made by early September.
“There was no doubt at the beginning of the first lockdown that employment levels would be impacted, but if we look at a narrower timeframe, there are signs of positivity. As a case in point, our Recruitment Trends Snapshot showed an uptick in hiring towards the end of September following the Chancellor’s announcement of extended business support loans. The data – provided by growth analytics platform, cube19, – showed that the numbers of new permanent vacancies added during the last two weeks of September increased 25% when compared with the first two weeks. Contract vacancies also grew 9% during this time frame. With further support announced in October, this positivity is likely to continue despite the UK moving into a second lockdown.”