Coronavirus lockdown has claimed 650,000 UK jobs since March - ONS

16 July 2020, 07:17

74,000 people were taken off payrolls last month
74,000 people were taken off payrolls last month. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

The UK's coronavirus lockdown has claimed almost 650,000 jobs since March, official figures showed today.

The number of UK workers on payrolls fell by 649,000 between March and June, with 74,000 jobs being lost last month, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The figures show that London was the hardest-hit area of the country.

The figures come after a separate report showed one third of UK firms plan to lay off staff over the next three months in a further sign of the coronavirus pandemic's devastating impact on Britain's job market.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BBC) quarterly recruitment outlook revealed that 29% of 7,400 firms surveyed expect to axe jobs over the third quarter - a record high for the study.

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The report - compiled in conjunction with Totaljobs - found that 28% of firms polled had already cut roles between April and June.

The study also showed that 41% of large companies and 41% of small and medium-sized firms expect to cut staff over the next quarter, with 18% of micro businesses forecasting workforce reductions.

Recruitment also ground to a halt, with just 25% of firms looking to take on new hires in another grim record for the report.

Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician at the Office for National Statistics (ONS), said of the job losses: "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.

"There are now almost two-thirds of a million fewer employees on the payroll than before the lockdown, according to the latest tax data.

"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."

He added: "There are now far more out-of-work people who are not looking for a job than before the pandemic."

This story is being updated.