The UK lost more than half a million jobs during its coronavirus lockdown, while employees worked fewer hours and earned less despite unprecedented government measures to support the economy.
The number of UK payroll employees fell by 650,000 – or 2.2% - between March and June, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.
Labor market statistics released by the National Bureau of Statistics in June indicated a serious fall in employment, despite a government program to supports 9.4 million jobs and 2.7 million self-employed people. The job plan is to be phased out in October, which raises concerns that Britain may face another increase in unemployment in the coming months.
This was reinforced by a British Chamber of Commerce survey, also published on Thursday, that found that thousands of companies plan to cut jobs in the coming months.
In the three months to May, total weekly hours worked in the UK decreased by 16.7% to 877.1 million hours. This was the largest annual decline since estimates began in 1971, with total hours worked dropping to the lowest level since May to July 1997.
The average weekly wages in Britain fell by 0.3% in the three months to May compared to the same period in 2019, from 2.9% in the three months to February - the first contraction since 2014.