UK employment falls by 600,000 since lockdown

More than 600,000 people fell off UK payrolls between March and May as the lockdown hit Britain’s jobs market, according to the latest official figures.

Universal Credit claims jumped 23.3 % between April and May to 2.8 million and soared 125.9 per cent or 1.6 million since March if the lockdown began.

According to the Office for National Statistics’ early estimates, the number of paid employees dropped by 2.1 % or 612,000 in May in contrast to March.


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The amount of people temporarily underemployed, including furloughed workers, rose by six million by the end of March into April, leading to a sizable fall as a whole hours worked.

The total number of weekly hours worked in the 3 months to April 2020 was 959.9 million, down a record 94.2 million (8.9 per cent) hours on the previous year.

Average pay growth slowed “notably” in April 2020, the ONS said, and the three months to April saw total pay fall in real terms for the very first time since January 2018.

Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician at the Office for National Statistics (ONS), told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “There is a lot going on in the labour market right now.

“In both months to May we saw a 600,000 fall in the number of people on the payroll.

“So, we are starting to see a worsening, worsening labour market.”

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