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Unemployment rate of the UK 1971-2020

The unemployment rate of the United Kingdom in August 2020 was 4.8 percent, the highest it has been since October 2016. Prior to the arrival of the Coronavirus pandemic, the UK was experiencing relatively low unemployment rates, comparable with the mid 1970s. During the provided time period, unemployment was highest in the Spring of 1984 when it hit 11.9 percent.

Furlough scheme keeping many employed

In order to prevent severe job losses the UK government is currently paying up to 80 percent of the wages for around 9.6 million jobs through its furlough scheme. Originally, the scheme was set to end in October 2020, but the arrival of a second Coronavirus wave in Autumn 2020, led to a second lockdown in November, and the extension of the scheme well into 2021.

Demographics of the unemployed

Between 2000 and 2018, women have consistently had a lower unemployment rate than that of men. During the financial crisis at the end of the last decade for example, the unemployment rate for women peaked at 7.5 percent, whereas for men the rate was 8.6 percent. Young people are also far more vulnerable to unemployment, with the rate for those aged between 16-24 far higher than it is for older age groups.

Unemployment rate in the United Kingdom from February 1971 to August 2020

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Release date

November 2020


United Kingdom

Survey time period

February 1971 to August 2020

Age group

16 years and older

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Statistics on "Unemployment in the UK"

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