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UK unemployment rate rockets to highest level in 3 years

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The UK unemployment rate has surged to its highest level in over three years as the pandemic continues to hit jobs.

The unemployment rate grew to 4.5% in the three months to August, compared with 4.1% in the previous quarter.

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Redundancies have also risen to their highest level since 2009 according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

It comes as the government prepares to impose tough local lockdown rules that will force some businesses to close, potentially leading to more job losses.

Jonathan Athow, the ONS’s deputy national statistician for economic statistics, said there had been a “sharp increase” in those out of work and job hunting since March.

“Overall employment is down about half a million since the pandemic began and there are particular groups who seem to be most affected, young people in particular,” he told the BBC’s Today programme.

“[Of those out of work] about 300,000 are aged 16-24, so about 60% of the fall in employment… that’s really disproportionate.”

The number claiming work related benefits, meanwhile, hit 2.7 million in September – an increase of 1.5 million since the beginning of the crisis in March.

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