Employment crisis builds as 649,000 lose their jobs

649,000 fewer people employed in June compared with March, when the UK went into lockdown, ONS figures suggest.

The ONS figures show that vacancies fell 463,000 between March and May to a record low of 333,000 as companies froze hiring in the face of the coronavirus crisis.
The pace of job cut announcements has also shown no sign of slowing down in recent weeks, with some 75,000 job losses announced last month alone, according to a recent analysis by the PA Media news agency.
This points to further grim jobless figures in the months to come.
The ONS data also showed pressure on wages, with average weekly wages including bonuses down 1.2% year over year in May - a sign of the impact of millions of furloughed workers on 80% pay.
The ONS’s early estimates showed the number of paid employees fell by 1.9% year on year in June to 28.4 million, and by 0.3% compared with the previous month.
As we’ve reported earlier, this suggests the number of UK workers on company payrolls has fallen during lockdown by nearly two-thirds of a million as the coronavirus crisis claimed another 74,000 jobs last month.
The ONS said the pace of job losses appeared to have slowed in June, with claims under Universal Credit by the unemployed and those on low incomes falling by 28,100 between May and June to 2.6 million.
But the claimant count has more than doubled since March - soaring 112.2% or by 1.4 million - in a sign of the mounting jobs crisis.
The ONS said unemployment fell 17,000 between March and May to 1.35 million, with the rate unchanged at 3.9%. Experts said this masked a fall in employment, down 126,000 in the quarter to 32.95 million, with the rate dropping to 76.4%.
With 9.4 million people on furlough classed as employed, the true impact is expected to only be shown after the current support scheme ends in October.
The ONS figures suggest the increase in job losses were not as bad as many feared, partly due to large numbers of businesses placing employees on furlough. This suggests the full impact of the pandemic on jobs won’t be known until the furlough scheme ends in October.
But the early estimates show 649,000 fewer people in employment in June compared with March.
ONS analysis suggests around half a million employees who said they were temporarily away from their jobs due to the pandemic were receiving no pay.
They also indicate that 76.4% of people aged 16-64 were in paid work between March and May.
There was also an all-time record low level of vacancies between April and June, 333,000 - 23% lower than the previous record, which was April 2009.
ONS analysis also found that pay is now growing at a slower rate than inflation, especially in sectors where furloughing is more prominent.
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