Employment falls by 649,000 during lockdown, latest stats suggest

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The number of people on payrolls in the UK has dipped dramatically during lockdown, according to the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

The data shows that 649,000 members of staff left their roles between March and June – a period when the coronavirus pandemic was at its height in Britain.

Estimates also suggested that 1.9 per cent less people appeared on payrolls in June 2020 compared to this time last year.

The number of hours worked also dropped at the fastest pace on record.

Commenting on the results, Deputy National Statistician for Economic Statistics, Jonathan Athow, stated: “As the pandemic took hold, the labour market weakened markedly, but that rate of decline slowed into June, though this is before recent reports of job losses.

“The Labour Force Survey is showing only a small fall in employment, but shows a large number of people who report working no hours and getting no pay.

“Both tax and survey data also show the number of new starters has fallen sharply.”

Mr. Athow continued: “There are now far more out-of-work people who are not looking for a job than before the pandemic.

“Pay is now falling on most measures, with many furloughed workers not having their wages topped up by their employers.”

There are concerns the UK economy will be hit hardest when the government furlough scheme ends in autumn.

9.4 million are currently still getting salary support from Rishi Sunak’s job retention plan.

Economists are predicting that unemployment will continue to rise sharply – perhaps even hitting 4 million by the end of 2020.

According to the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), over 30 per cent of businesses are putting strategies in place to trim staff numbers during the next three months.

Figures published back in June show that Scotland currently has the highest rate of unemployment in the UK – with 4.6% of over-16s out of work.

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