Stats show 700,000 UK workers have been removed from the payrolls of British companies since March when the country went into lockdown as unemployment hit 4.1% today.
The figures are for the three months from May to July and are worse than the quarter to June when the rate stood at 3.9%.
There are growing fears that unemployment could worsen over the coming months as the Government’s furlough scheme comes to an end.
The stats post a grim picture as the thousands of layoffs since lockdown lifted underscore the damage caused by the pandemic.
Businesses in industries such as retail, aerospace, tourism, aviation and media have been among those to lay off huge proportions of their workforce.
The Office for National Statistics said young workers had been particularly hard hit by