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Covid pandemic has left more than 700,000 people out of work with 60% under-25

Mirror logo Mirror 23/02/2021 Emma Munbodh
a close up of a busy city street: The UK's unemployment rate has had the biggest annual rise since the financial crisis © Empics Entertainment The UK's unemployment rate has had the biggest annual rise since the financial crisis

The number of UK workers on payrolls increased by 83,000 last month despite ongoing national lockdown restrictions.

However, 726,000 jobs have been lost since February 2020 when the pandemic began, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said on Tuesday.

Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician at the ONS, said the vast majority of job losses affected the under-25s age group.

However, he said pay growth is running at its highest level since 2008, with 86,000 more people recruited last month, showing signs of a recovering market.

a group of people standing in front of a building: Almost three-fifths of this fall in employees since the onset of the pandemic came from the under-25s © Getty Images Almost three-fifths of this fall in employees since the onset of the pandemic came from the under-25s

It reported average weekly earnings up by 4.7% on an annual basis during the three months to December.

However, the official jobless rate ticked up to 5.1% in the three months to December from 5%.

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More on coronavirus:

Download the Microsoft News app for full coverage of the crisis

Step by step: How England's lockdown will be lifted (The Guardian)

How would vaccine and testing certificates work? (Sky News)

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Athow said: "The latest monthly tax figures show tentative early signs of the labour market stabilising, with a small increase in the numbers of employees paid through payroll over the last couple of months - though there are still over 700,000 fewer people employed than before the start of the coronavirus pandemic.


Gallery: Here’s what you could get with your paycheck a century ago (Espresso)

"Almost three-fifths of this fall in employees since the onset of the pandemic came from the under-25s, according to a new age breakdown we are publishing for the first time today.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2021/02/22: A lady wearing a face mask walks pass a covid testing sign in London.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveils plan to end England restrictions. A new four-step plan to ease England's lockdown could see all legal limits on social contact lifted by 21 June, if strict conditions are met. (Photo by May James/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images) © 2021 SOPA Images LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2021/02/22: A lady wearing a face mask walks pass a covid testing sign in London. Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveils plan to end England restrictions. A new four-step plan to ease England's lockdown could see all legal limits on social contact lifted by 21 June, if strict conditions are met. (Photo by May James/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

"Our survey shows that the unemployment rate has had the biggest annual rise since the financial crisis.

"However, the proportion of people who are neither working nor looking for work has stabilised after rising sharply at the start of the pandemic, with many people who lost their jobs early on having now started looking for work."

Workers have been left worrying about their jobs after the Prime Minister announced plans to reopen non-essential businesses on April 12. However, live music venues and live sports are amongst those that will remain on hold until at least June 21.

It's prompted fears that many could be left without an income, with the furlough scheme due to close on April 30.

FALMOUTH, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 22: Groups of people enjoy the sunshine and warm temperature  on Gylllyngvase Beach on February 22, 2021 in Falmouth, United Kingdom. After a surge of Covid-19 cases, fueled partly by a more infectious variant of the virus, the British government had reimposed nationwide lockdown measures across England.  A review was held on February 15 and despite deaths and infections falling, lockdown will continue.  (Photo by Hugh R Hastings/Getty Images) © 2021 Hugh R Hastings FALMOUTH, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 22: Groups of people enjoy the sunshine and warm temperature on Gylllyngvase Beach on February 22, 2021 in Falmouth, United Kingdom. After a surge of Covid-19 cases, fueled partly by a more infectious variant of the virus, the British government had reimposed nationwide lockdown measures across England. A review was held on February 15 and despite deaths and infections falling, lockdown will continue. (Photo by Hugh R Hastings/Getty Images)

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said there could be a gap of months before workers know if they still have a job.

"The Government must stop dithering and delaying and extend the full furlough scheme for at least the rest of 2021, and it must (give) urgent support for the self-employed.

"With jobs and livelihoods hanging in the balance there is no reason to keep workers and businesses waiting.

"We need a plan for supporting the parts of the economy hit hardest by repeated lockdown restrictions, like hospitality, retail, aviation and the creative industries.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak giving a statement on the economy in the House of Commons, London. (Photo by House of Commons/PA Images via Getty Images) © PA Wire/PA Images Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak giving a statement on the economy in the House of Commons, London. (Photo by House of Commons/PA Images via Getty Images)

"Ministers cannot watch from the sidelines as companies go the wall."

Unison general secretary Christina McAnea said a cautious approach was the right way to balance getting the country moving again and limit virus spread.

"It's clear restrictions were relaxed too quickly last time and there can be no repeat mistakes.

"By ensuring staff are encouraged to have the vaccine by their employers and paid wages in full if they need to isolate, ministers can drive infection rates down even further."

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said an update on job support will be announced during next week’s Budget.

"I know how incredibly tough the past year has been for everyone, and every job lost is a personal tragedy.

"That's why throughout the crisis, my focus has been on doing everything we can to protect jobs and livelihoods.

"At the Budget next week I will set out the next stage of our Plan for Jobs, and the support we'll provide through the remainder of the pandemic and our recovery."

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Stay alert to stop coronavirus spreading - here is the latest government guidance. If you think you have the virus, don't go to the GP or hospital, stay indoors and get advice online. Only call NHS 111 if you cannot cope with your symptoms at home; your condition gets worse; or your symptoms do not get better after seven days. In parts of Wales where 111 isn't available, call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47. In Scotland anyone with symptoms is advised to self-isolate for seven days. In Northern Ireland, call your GP.

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