Jobs fall by 649,000 between March and May 2020

17 July 2020

Data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) indicates that, during lockdown, between March and May 2020 the number of employees on payroll, taken from Pay As You Earn Real Time Information (PAYE RTI), fell by 2.2% - the equivalent of 649,000 job losses.

Unemployment has not increased as significantly as it would have done as a result of COVID-19, had the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) not been created to protect jobs by placing employees at risk of redundancy on furlough, but it has been predicted that, as the scheme unwinds, we will begin to witness higher levels of unemployment and a potential recession.

Since the start of the outbreak of coronavirus, the ONS has recorded that the total weekly hours worked had fallen by a staggering 175.3 million, or 16.7%, to 877.1 million hours. In addition to this, the number of job vacancies have also sharply declined, falling to 333,000 between April and June. This is approximately two-thirds lower when compared to the same period last year, and concerningly, the lowest level since the ONS began collecting comparable data in 2001.

The data also highlights the fact that young people have been affected particularly badly by the pandemic, with 47,000 more young people employed than there were a year ago.


The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication. For all the latest information, news and resources on how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting payroll professions, visit our Coronavirus hub.