Shropshire unemployment claims rise as coronavirus lockdown rocks economy

Pandemic sees UK payrolls drop by over 600,000 - Business Link

More than 600000 workers have lost their jobs during lockdown

Please see our Privacy Notice for details of your data protection rights. Economists polled by Reuters had mostly expected a rise to 4.7%.

According to the Office for National Statistics, early estimates show that the number of United Kingdom workers on payrolls fell by 612,000 - 2.1 per cent - as lockdown hit Britain's labour market.

Figures for the West Midlands show the numbers claiming unemployment benefits, including Universal Credit, were up 47,305 to 265,030 (7.3 per cent).

The report shows the reduction in total hours worked is a record both in the year and the quarter, demonstrating the value of the furlough scheme.

However, Recruitment and Employment Confederation CEO Neil Carberry said there were some indications that the jobs market was recovering, even if ONS statistics did not show it.

The Scottish TUC urged politicians not to panic about rising unemployment levels over fears the public could be put at risk in a rush to reopen workplaces, which could lead to a second spike in infection rates followed by a double-dip recession.

Economic inactivity also rose slightly, estimated to now be at 20.5 percent.

Claims surged nearly a quarter in May from April, the ONS added, while job vacancies tumbled to a record low as economic activity ground to a halt.

Job vacancies also laid bare the impact of lockdown, plummeting to an estimated 476,000 between March and May - down 342,000 on the previous quarter and the lowest since current records started in 2001.

Employee average pay growth slowed notably in April, and the three months to April saw total pay fall in real terms for the first time since January 2018; pay declined in industries where furloughing was most prominent, many of these being the lowest-paying industries, in particular accommodation and food service activities.

Notably, hit by social distancing measures with hotels, restaurants and retail stores being closed, the vacancies in the "wholesale, retail trade and fix of motor vehicles" industrial sector declined by 49.9 percent quarterly and the "accommodation and food service activities" sector decreased by 70.7 percent, figures revealed. "We know the underlying jobs situation is much worse than this".

"There's a real danger that unemployment could go above 15%, and as the clock continues to tick on the Government's generous Job Retention scheme, job seekers and businesses face an unforgiving employment landscape", he continued.

But some organisations have warned they will require further support from the government to avoid mass redundancies, despite the easing of lockdown restrictions over the coming weeks and months. And those who become unemployed through this period will experience a very challenging economy in which to find new work.

"The window is closing to protect existing jobs and encourage firms to invest in creating new ones".

As of June 7, 8.9 million Britons were now on furlough.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has previously stated that he will do "whatever it takes" to keep the economy afloat, but some are falling through the cracks in the system.

According to the official data, the non-essential retail sector employs 1.3 million people and provides 46.6 billion pounds (about 58.9 billion USA dollars) to its economy every year.

PwC senior economist Jing Teow said: "Today's data shows just how hard the coronavirus has hit workers across the country".

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