More than a third of jobs lost across the UK between February and November came in hospitality, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Of the 819,000 fewer workers on company payrolls in November, compared with February, hospitality’s decline accounted for 297,000 of those job losses.
ONS director of economic statistics Darren Morgan told the BBC’s Today programme: “If you look at the number of people losing their jobs, the number of people on furlough and the vacancies available for people looking for jobs in the hospitality sector, all that adds up to a very difficult time for that industry.”
The figures also showed the UK’s unemployment rate rose to 4.9% in the three months to October.
The rate was up 0.1% from the three months to September. Redundancies rose to a record high of 370,000 for the same three-month period, a jump of 217,000 people in the quarter.
Hospitality accounted for a third of the job losses, followed by retail.
Economists said the huge jump in job losses was due to the expected end to the government’s furlough scheme, which has protected millions of jobs during the pandemic.
As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the unemployment rate is now 1.2% higher than it was a year ago.
It has also increased by 0.7% during the past quarter, the ONS said, as the government’s landmark job protection schemes were eased back.
Firms began to lay off more staff in anticipation of the furlough scheme ending on 31 October, but it was subsequently extended due to further lockdown measures.
The number of vacancies continued to rise. A further 110,000 jobs were added over the quarter, meaning the total number of vacancies is now at 547,000.
This, however, is still lower than prior to the pandemic, and 31.5% down on 2019 levels.