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UK unemployment rises by 50,000 in three months, benefit claims soars in the first full month of lockdown

UK unemployment rises by 50,000 in three months

UK unemployment rose by 50,000 to 1.35 million in the three months to March, as the effects of the coronavirus lockdown slam the economy. 

The unemployment rate was estimated at 3.9%, slightly up on the previous quarter, the Office for National Statistics said. 

Before lockdown began, UK employment was at a record high. And the figures only cover the first week of the lockdown so the total is likely to worsen sharply in the coming months. 

Jagjit Chadha, director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, told the BBC: “We can reasonably expect unemployment to rise very quickly to something over 10% – something we haven’t seen since the early 1990s.” 

Benefit claims soar

The number of people claiming unemployment benefit in the UK rose last month, the first full month of the coronavirus pandemic lockdown. 

The claimant count in April went up by 856,500 to 2.097 million, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

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