More must be done by the Government to reverse the continued high rates of unemployment revealed today, says the National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB), as outlined in its new skills position statement.

Key statistics released by the ONS today reveal:

  • June to August 2020 figures show the unemployment rate and the number of redundancies continue to increase, while the employment rate continues to fall;
  • The rate of unemployment rises to 4.5% in the three months to August;
  • Since March 2020, the number of payroll employees has fallen by 673,000;
  • Redundancies increased in June to August 2020 by 113,000 compared to the same period in 2019, the largest annual increase since April to June 2009.

Dr Joe Marshall, Chief Executive of NCUB said: “The new figures published today by the ONS further demonstrate the severity of the unemployment problem we are facing in the wake of Covid-19. Today’s new statistics reveal that the number of employees in the UK on payrolls is now down around 673,000 compared with March 2020. What’s more, redundancies have reached the highest level since May to July 2009, in the midst of the last global recession. More worryingly still, recent patterns demonstrate that this problem has impacted the nation’s young people disproportionately. The Resolution Foundation has recently warned that youth unemployment could rise to around 17%, the same level as the early 1980s peak – we therefore urgently need to do more to help young people. We need to see further decisive action from the Government to reverse the huge falls in employment resulting from the recent shock of the pandemic.”


Marshall concluded: “Time is running out and the Government must act now to save a generation of talent and safeguard our future prosperity. We need decisive action from the Government to help young people into employment and help employers to retain talent and valuable entry level jobs. It’s imperative employees and employers alike. We are calling on the Government to temporarily abolish National Insurance Contributions for young people under the age of 25, meaning the cost of hiring is lower. Without support, young people will face unemployment or lower wages, and employers will lose out on the innovative, talented workforce they need to recover. These new figures today truly hammer home the scale of the crisis we face and demonstrate the need to fundamentally evaluate our future labour needs and develop suitable policies in response. We urge the Government to take this seriously.”