UK redundancy rates during the coronavirus pandemic have increased faster than during the 2008-09 economic downturn, according to the Office for National Statistics.
According to the ONS figures:
- The administrative and support services industry had the highest redundancy rate between July and November last year, at 35.8 per 1,000 employees
- Disabled employees had higher than average redundancy rates
- Vacancies in the accommodation and food service activities industry declined the most. These were down 64%
- Redundancies increased the most (400.4%) in the transport and storage industry in the year to November 2020
The employment rate decreased by 1.1 percentage points between January to March and September to November last year to 75.2%.
The ONS said this showed that the rate of redundancies recorded since the beginning of the pandemic had already exceeded the highest rate reached during the financial crisis of 2008-09.
Between March and September last year, monthly notices of expected large redundancies (20 or more employees at a single establishment) increased from 435 in March 2020 to 1,734 in September.
Meanwhile, a closely-watched survey showed that the UK economy continued to decline in the first two weeks of February, although the speed of the fall has slowed since January.
The IHS Markit/CIPS Flash UK Composite PMI report came in at 49.8, with anything below 50 seen as a contraction.
This was an improvement on January’s figure of 41.2.
Manufacturers reported severe supply chain disruptions due to international shipping delays, strong worldwide demand for raw materials, and Brexit-related trade problems.
But manufacturing still grew, recording a flash PMI of 54.1 as new orders increased.
The services sector continued to struggle with COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions, recording a PMI of 49.7 compared with 39.5 in January.