Payrolled workers rise and unemployment rate falls despite furlough ending

The number of UK workers on company payrolls surged by 160,000 last month and there was no sign of a jump in redundancies despite the furlough support scheme coming to an end, according to official figures.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said payrolled workers jumped by 0.6% between September and October to 29.3 million – “well above” levels seen before the pandemic struck.

The unemployment rate also fell once more to 4.3% between July to September, down from 4.5% between June and August, in spite of the furlough scheme coming to an end on September 30.

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The ONS said survey responses so far suggest only a small number of redundancies have been made among the 1.1 million still on furlough when the scheme closed.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said payrolled workers jumped by 0.6% between September and October to 29.3 million – “well above” levels seen before the pandemic struck.

Sam Beckett, ONS head of economic statistics, said: “It might take a few months to see the full impact of furlough coming to an end, as people who lost their jobs at the end of September could still be receiving redundancy pay.

“However, October’s early estimate shows the number of people on the payroll rose strongly on the month and stands well above its pre-pandemic level.”

She added: “There is also no sign of an upturn in redundancies and businesses tell us that only a very small proportion of their previously furloughed staff have been laid off.”

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The data also showed that job vacancies reached a new record high, up 388,000 between August and October to 1.17 million as the reopening of the economy continued to drive demand for recruitment.