People are being thrown out of work at the sharpest rate since the recession in 2009. But the unemployment crisis is even deeper than the official jobless count.
Around five million workers, including those on furlough, were “away from work” in July, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics on Tuesday. Of those, 2.5 million were away from their jobs for three months or longer.
Furloughed workers face joining the 156,000 people who lost their jobs in the three months to July.
The five million includes many who are unemployed in all but name. Workers on casual or zero hours contracts weren’t officially furloughed or laid off but have gone without work.
Urgent action is needed to address the growing avalanche of job losses. It will take more than platitudes.
Speaking to the TUC union federation conference on Tuesday, Labour leader Keir Starmer called for financial support to continue for some sectors after the furlough ends in October. Beyond that, his solution is “a bit of imagination” and to be “willing to put party differences aside”.
Unemployment shows how chaotic capitalism is. There’s plenty of work that needs doing. But people are sacked because it’s not profitable for the bosses.
Unions need to mobilise action that protects jobs—and that means breaking from the logic of the profit system.