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Despite rise, unemployment “remains on track to peak below 7%”, says IEA expert

IEA Economics Fellow Julian Jessop responded to the latest unemployment figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), showing a rise from 4.5% to 4.8% in the three months to September

“The further rise in unemployment is unwelcome, but it’s worth emphasising how low unemployment still remains, considering the huge hit to economic activity.

“This is partly due to continued government support, including the furlough scheme, but is also a tribute to the flexibility of the UK labour market.

“Other European countries have provided similar government support but have still seen unemployment rise to far higher levels; average unemployment in the eurozone is 8.3% compared to less than 5% in the UK.

“Unemployment remains on track to peak below 7%, which is far lower than many feared.”

Notes to editors

For media enquiries, please contact Emily Carver, Head of Media, on 07715942731 or

Julian Jessop is available for interview and further comment.

For further reading on how high unemployment might rise, click here.

The mission of the Institute of Economic Affairs is to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems. The IEA is a registered educational charity and independent of all political parties.

UK labour market: November 2020

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