‘Britain’s jobs boom is grinding to a halt under the weight of the coronavirus, with new figures showing a leap in unemployment benefit claims and employers cutting on hiring.
Recent years have seen employment hit a record high, in what some have called a “jobs miracle.” But analysts say UK unemployment may now have soared to its highest in almost five years, after just under half a million applications for the universal credit benefit in just nine days.
It comes amid warnings Britain could face the worst recession in modern history, as the coronavirus and government lockdown to contain it paralyse the economy.
Unemployment ‘highest since 2015’
Britain’s benefit system has seen a recent surge in new claims as a health emergency has rapidly spiralled into an economic one. A minister confirmed this week 477,000 people applied for universal credit in just nine days.
The Resolution Foundation think tank said it showed Britain was “in the midst of an unemployment crisis,” with the figure dwarfing anything seen even during the financial crash over a decade ago.
The numbers mean Britain’s unemployment rate may already be at 5.3%, according to a Bank of America (BofA) Global Research report sent to clients on Thursday. That would mark the highest rate since summer 2015, official figures show.’