Britain’s unemployment rate has struck the highest level in four years after the coronavirus pandemic wiped out a record amount of jobs, official data showed on Tuesday.
The rate — or proportion of the workforce that is unemployed — hit 4.9 percent in the three months to the end of October, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement.
That compared with a rate of 4.8 percent for the quarter to the end of September. The ONS added that the rate was last higher in August 2016, when it had stood at 5.0 percent.
Since the start of the UK pandemic in March, the number of all payroll employees has dived by 819,000 — with more than a third of this slump in the hospitality sector.
At the same time, millions of private-sector workers are still receiving the bulk of their wages under the British government’s furlough jobs scheme.
The bleak update comes as London’s battered hospitality sector is set for further turmoil, with the capital experiencing tougher lockdown restrictions from Wednesday following a surge in Covid-19 cases across the capital.