Unemployment rate nears five-year high with 1.74 million now jobless

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UNEMPLOYMENT has risen to 5.1%, its highest in five years.

It means the total number of jobless now stands at 1.74 million in the three months to December 2020.

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Coronavirus has caused a rise in unemployment

There were 121,000 more people out of work than the three months before that.

And it was higher than the same period in 2019 when 454,000 were unemployed.

The unemployment rate was 4.9% in December and 5% in January.

The Prime Minister yesterday announced a roadmap for lockdown being lifted.

He promised not to “pull the rug out” on economic support hinting that there could be an extension to the furlough scheme.

Furlough is set to finish at the end of April but Chancellor Rishi Sunak could announce an extension to the scheme in his Budget speech, which is due to be delivered next week.

Non-essential retail is set to open again from April 12, while pubs and restaurants can start serving outside with table service and takeaways.

The move gives hopes to thousands of workers in retail and hospitality who have been unable to work because the lockdown.

Those who can work from home will continue to do so until at least June.

More to follow

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