Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.

We start with grim news from the UK jobs market. The number of people being laid off has jumped at the fastest pace since the financial crisis, as Covid-19 continues to hurt the UK economy badly.

Figures just released show that 156,000 people were made redundant in the May-July quarter – an increase of 58,000 compared with the same period in 2019.

It’s also an increase of 48,000 compared with February-April, when the Covid-19 crisis began.

This, the Office for National Statistics says, is the biggest jump in over a decade:

Redundancies increased by 58,000 on the year, and 48,000 on the quarter, to 156,000.

These are the largest annual and quarterly increases seen since 2009. While redundancies are at their highest level since September to November 2012, the level remains well below that seen during the 2008 downturn.

Many of those jobs will have been lost in the retail, hospitality, accommodation and leisure sectors, where companies were forced to shut down this spring, and have suffered weak sales since.

Worryingly, it comes before the government wraps up its jobs retention scheme, forcing employers to decide whether to keep furloughed workers on their books or not.

Photograph: Office for National Statistics

Today’s jobs report also shows that the number of employees in the UK on payrolls was down around 695,000 in August, compared with March 2020. That’s another good indicator of the damage caused by the coronavirus crisis.

This has pushed the UK unemployment rate up, to 4.1%, another concerning sign. That’s still pretty low by historic standards, and shows that the furlough scheme did help prevent an immediate spike in unemployment.

The employment rate has also gone up slightly, to 76.5%, as more people returned to work as lockdowns eased.

But today’s jobs report also shows that younger workers are suffering particularly badly from the recession.

Over the quarter, there has been a large decrease in the number of young people in employment, while unemployment for young people has increased.

More details and reaction to follow….

Also coming up today

We get a new healthcheck on the oil market, where demand had been hammered by the pandemic, plus the latest survey of economic confidence in Germany. Industrial output figures from the US will show if its factories are still recovering.

Overnight, China has reported a pick-up in industrial output and retail sales (more on that later).

There’s not much drama in the markets, with European stocks expected to open flat.


European Opening Calls:#FTSE 6036 +0.16%#DAX 13197 +0.02%#CAC 5051 -0.02%#AEX 552 -0.06%#MIB 19806 +0.06%#IBEX 6957 +0.08%#OMX 1804 +0.07%#STOXX 3313 -0.10%#IGOpeningCall

September 15, 2020

The agenda

7am BST: UK labour market report
9am BST: IEA oil market report
10am BST: ZEW institute survey of German economic confidence
1.30pm BST: US Empire State manufacturing index for September
2.15pm BST: US industrial production report for August

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