At least 730,000 lost their jobs in the UK since March – ONS

Payroll figures show 730,000 people have lost their jobs since the start of the coronavirus crisis lockdown as the UK braces for an expected acceleration in unemployment, Sky News reports.

Data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed a leap of 81,000 last month alone despite continuing support for employers via government loan vehicles and the Job Retention Scheme for furloughed workers.

The claimant count – which covers those claiming benefits for unemployment and because they are on low incomes – rose 116.8% to 2.7 million between March and July.

There was evidence too of a wider squeeze on incomes with regular pay falling by 0.2% in the three months to June compared to the same period last year.

That represented, the ONS said, the first negative growth in regular nominal earnings since records began in 2001.

The figures were released hours before the Treasury was due to give an update on take-up of its various support schemes that, at their height, saw the pay of 9.5 million workers be supported through the Job Retention Scheme.

That number has gradually fallen back as the economy has re-opened from its COVID-19 hibernation.

Commenting on its findings, ONS deputy national statistician for economic statistics Jonathan Athow said: “The labour market continues recent trends, with a fall in employment and significantly reduced hours of work as many people are furloughed.

“Figures from our main survey show there has been a rise in people without a job and not looking for one, though wanting to work. In addition, there are still a large number of people who say they are working no hours and getting
zero pay.

“The falls in employment are greatest among the youngest and oldest workers, along with those in lower-skilled jobs.

“Vacancies numbers began to recover in July, especially in small businesses and sectors such as hospitality, but demand for workers remains depressed.”


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