More than 100,000 jobs were lost to the London economy over the summer as the devastating impact of the pandemic ripped through the capital.
Between June and September 104,000 workforce roles disappeared in London, more than any other region of Britain, according to grim new figures today from the Office for National Statistics.
The capital is more exposed to the damage from lockdowns because of its dependence on service sectors such as hospitality and retail that have to shut down.
Meanwhile the capital’s unemployment total surged through the 300,000 barrier for the first time in five years with the jobless rate rising from 4.8 per cent to six per cent in the June to September quarter.
Nationally the unemployment rate jumped 0.7 per cent to 4.8 per cent in the three months to September, with 1.62 million people now unemployed.
There were also record numbers of redundancies with around 314,000 registered, up by 181,000 from the quarter before.
The highest redundancy rate was in the accomodation and food services sector, which employs an estimated 500,000 people in London.
ONS deputy national statistician for economic statistics Jonathan Athow said: “The latest monthly tax numbers show over three quarters of a million fewer employees on the payroll in October than in March.
“Unemployment grew sharply in the three months to September, with many of those who lost their jobs earlier in the pandemic beginning to look for work again. The number of redundancies has also reached a record high.
“Vacancies continued to recover from the very low numbers seen earlier in the year. However, these figures predate the reintroduction of restrictions in many parts of the UK.”
Dave Innes, head of economics at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said: “In the face of continued uncertainty the Government was right to extend the furlough scheme until March 2021. But the eleventh-hour decision will have cost jobs and will give little comfort to those who have already been made redundant. The poorest are being hit hardest too: Low-paid workers are more likely to work in sectors where jobs are most at risk.”
Suren Thiru, the head of economics at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “While there was a rise in the number of job vacancies, this is more likely to reflect a temporary bounce as the economy reopened before recent restrictions were reintroduced, rather than a meaningful upturn in demand for labour.”
Tom Pickersgill, chief executive and co-founder of shift worker app Orka said: “A second wave of Covid redundancies brings us close to a million jobs lost since March. Now with the whole country locked down again, it’s difficult to see how this trend won’t continue into the new year.
“For new job seekers, however, there are some routes back into employment. While several industries have been hit incredibly hard by the pandemic, others including delivery services, supermarkets, cleaning and logistics are growing and work is in high demand.”
Minister for Employment Mims Davies said:“This remains a challenging time for families across the country and today’s figures show the impact the virus is having on our labour market.
“Through our Plan for Jobs we have a relentless focus on protecting, supporting and creating jobs and we continue to help people of all ages into work. We’re doubling the number of Work Coaches across our Jobcentres with 4,500 already taking up posts, our £2bn Kickstart scheme is under way with the first recruits starting last week, and our JETS programme is supporting those who have lost jobs due to the pandemic.
“We continue to take the necessary action to save jobs and protect livelihoods as our response to coronavirus evolves, which is why we have extended furlough and SEISS.”