New employment stats show that younger people are bearing the brunt of the job cuts that have hit Britain in the wake of the pandemic.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that, in the year to March 2021,some 811,000 payroll jobs were lost in the UK, with under-35s accounting for 80% of these job losses.
The figures also show that the unemployment rate dipped to 4.9% in the three months to February, down from 5% previously.
The ONS said the jobs market “remains subdued”, with five million people employed but still on furlough.
Head of economics at the British Chambers of Commerce, Suren Thiru, said: “Unemployment remains on course to peak towards the end of 2021, once the furlough scheme expires and those who stopped job hunting during the pandemic look to return to the workforce as restrictions ease.
“Although the furlough scheme will limit the peak in job losses, the longer-term structural unemployment caused by Covid-19, particularly among young people, may mean that the road back to pre-pandemic levels lags behind the wider economic recovery.”
Overall, some 1.67 million people were unemployed between December and February – 311,000 higher than a year ago.
Traditionally, sectors such as retail and hospitality employ a disproportionate number of young people, and those sectors have been hard hit by the pandemic, the ONS said. That meant those aged under 35 accounted for 635,000 payroll jobs lost in the year to March, with 436,000 of those held by people under 25.