• UK unemployment jumped to its highest rate in over three years, rising to 4.5% in the three months to August.
  • Nearly 3 million people claimed jobless benefits in September, according to data released by the Office for National Statistics.
  • The jobs data was worse than the 4.3% rise economists had expected.
  • The situation could deteriorate after the British government announced a new system of local lockdowns, introducing a three-tiered system of rules as infections surge across the country and a furlough programme is set to expire later this month.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

UK unemployment rose to a three-year high of 4.5% in the three months to August, from 4.1% in July, according to data released by the Office of National Statistics on Tuesday. 

The number of people claiming jobless benefits rose to 2.7 million in September — an increase of 1.5 million since March 2020, the ONS said.

People who were laid off, or voluntarily left jobs, rose to 227,000 in the three-month period to August, up by 113,000 from the same period the previous year, the largest annual increase since April to June 2009, during the financial crisis.

Redundancies in the quarter reached the highest level since May to July 2009, ONS said.

Economists at Pantheon Macroeconomics predicted the unemployment rate would rise to 4.3%, meaning that the actual picture is worse than expected.

The British government on Monday announced a new system of local lockdowns for England, introducing a three-tiered system of rules as infections surge across the country. That means things could get worse.

"Almost a million people have lost their jobs since the start of the pandemic and, given the latest lockdown measures, this number could climb again in the coming months," Orka Technology CEO Tom Pickersgill said. "While this is a terrible situation for so many to be in, the picture of the job market isn't completely black and white and there are some opportunities out there."

Pickersgill said while permanent 9-5-style roles will take time to recover, there will be a spike in temporary job opportunities as businesses favor flexibility in hiring. Anyone looking for work should consider industries such as security, logistics, and cleaning, as they offer the benefits and protections of traditional full time employment, he said.

London's benchmark FTSE 100 index fell 0.4% on Tuesday. 

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