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UK workers on payroll fall by more than 600,000

The number of workers on payroll in the UK has fallen more than 600,000 between March and May, ONS figures suggest.

The ONS (Office for National Statistics) has said that the number of jobs available has also declined to a record low in May.

These figures come after around 6 weeks of lockdown in the UK in which the government is currently paying the salaries of almost 9 million workers on the government's furlough scheme.

However, some economists are warning that the impact of the lockdown on employment will not be felt until the furlough schemes end in October.

Jonathan Athow, from the Office of National Statistics, has said "The slowdown in the economy is now visibly hitting the labour market, especially in terms of hours worked.

Early indicators for May show that the number of employees on payrolls were down over 600,000 compared with March."

He has also added that the number of people who are claiming work-related benefits has also risen, however, "not all of these people are necessarily unemployed" but overall the unemployment rate across the country has remained at 3.9% in the three months to April.

The Office of National Statistics has also advised that the number of hours being worked each week has also hit a record low, however this may be because there are millions of workers who are currently on furlough.

Ruth Gregory, from Capital Economics economist, has said that "It was abundantly clear in every other indicator that the labour market has weakened dramatically.

Despite the apparent stability of the actual unemployment rate, the labour market data were still pretty awful. And some of this will surely start to filter through into the actual unemployment figures as the government's job furlough scheme is wound down from August."

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