730,000 UK jobs have been lost since March - with unemployment levels now at their lowest since 2009

Tuesday, 11th August 2020, 2:20 pm
Updated Tuesday, 11th August 2020, 2:21 pm
Analysts are concerned that the winding-down of the furlough scheme could see thousands more made redundant (Photo: Shutterstock)

Official figures have shown that employment levels in the UK dropped by a record amount for over a decade between April and June 2020.

The last largest quarterly decrease in employment was recorded between May and July 2009, in the wake of the 2008 global financial crash.

The National Office for Statistics (ONS) has released figures showing that the number of people in work between April and June 2020 fell by 220,000 on the quarter. The worst-affected groups have been the oldest workers, the youngest workers and those in manual occupations, the ONS reported.

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Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician at the ONS,  told the BBC, "The groups of people most affected are younger workers, 24 and under, or older workers and those in more routine or less skilled jobs.

"This is concerning, as it's harder for these groups to find a new job or get into a job as easily as other workers."

Around 730,000 jobs lost since March

Though millions of jobs have been retained through the government-backed furlough scheme, analysts have warned that the winding-down of the scheme in coming months could see thousands more cuts.

In June alone, 140,000 redundancies were announced across several sectors, with retail particularly badly affected.

The number of hours worked on average also fell between April and June, reaching record lows both on the year and on the quarter. The number of people claiming universal credit rose to 2.7 million in July, up 117 per cent on March 2020.

In addition to this, the numbers of people on zero hour contracts rose sharply to over a million, while self-employment fell between April and May.

"Early indicators for July 2020 suggest that the number of employees in the UK on payrolls is down around 730,000 compared with March 2020," said the ONS.

Almost 10 million workers are being covered by the government's furlough scheme.