Customers to remain confident with unemployment rate stable?

Published:  16 June, 2020

Garages looking for some good news might find solace in the fact that the UK unemployment rate remained unchanged through the few months of lockdown, which would hopefully mean the mass of the overall customer base will on average still be able to spend money on necessary servicing and repairs.

According to figures released today (Tuesday 16 June) by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), during April and May, the number of people looking for unemployment benefit went up by more than 1.5 million. However, this was offset by  a drop in jobless claims between April and May. Unemployment for the quarter between February and April surprisingly stayed at  at 3.9%, which is where it was before the pandemic.

Other statistics from the figures raise more concerns though. For example, the number of  staff on company payrolls fell by 612,000 between March and May while job vacancies plunged to a record low. At the same time, between March and May, the UK recorded what was the biggest quarterly decrease in job openings since records began in 2001. During the three months, there were an estimated 476,000 vacancies in the UK. This was 342,000 fewer than in the prior quarter.

Until the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and other support programmes wind up, it will be hard to get a true picture of the economic damage done by COVID-19 and the measures put in place to fight it. Many are bracing for a big jump in unemployment after October, when the furlough is due to end.

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