Stark indication of unemployment levels to come
The latest official figures show that employment fell by 450,000 last month, in a stark indication of unemployment levels likely to come.
At the same time, the number of job vacancies in the market was slashed in half.
400,000 fewer job vacancies now exist.
There’s little doubt that the UK faces a jobs crisis following the coronavirus pandemic, with thinktank the Resolution Foundation claiming the stats give an early indication of what is to come.
According to flash estimates from HMRC’s PAYE real-time information, the number of paid employees was down by 450,000 between March and April.
That’s equivalent to 1.6% fewer employees in the workforce, leaving a total of 28.6 million employed.
The data excludes those employees placed on furlough under the terms of the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme.
Around 7.5 million employees have been furloughed since the onset of the crisis.
Another indication of the severity of the jobs crisis is a sharp rise in the benefits claimant count.
850,000 more people claimed state benefits between early March and early April, including some who are claiming state aid while continuing to work.
The claimant count is lower than the 1.4 million Universal Credit claims made between mid-March and early April because new Universal Credit claims reflect a variety of circumstances, as well as rising unemployment.
According to new research from the Resolution Foundation, young workers are most likely to face pay cuts during this crisis.
Younger workers also experience more furloughing and job losses than other age groups.
Employees in their early 60s were also disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
Nye Cominetti, Senior Economist at the Resolution Foundation, said:
Today’s figures highlight the speed and scale of Britain’s job crisis. Employee numbers have fallen by nearly half a million in just one month, while the number of vacancies has halved.
These shocking figures would be far worse were it not the Job Retention Scheme, which has so far protected 7.5 million jobs.
But even despite widespread furloughing, Britain could still be facing the highest unemployment levels it has had in over a quarter of a century.