ONS say UK jobs market deteriorated in May

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Recent figures from the ONS show that the UK jobs market deteriorated in May 2020.

What do the figures say?

Here are the numbers;

  • 600,000 employed jobs lost, or just over 2% of the employed workforce
  • 342,000 fewer vacancies; a drop of 60% since March
  • Benefit claims increasing by 1.6 million people since March.
  • Decrease of 131,000 in self employed workers in April.

How does this compare with April?

Unemployment in April actually remained at very low levels – see here.

The increase in Universal Credit claims may not all be from new unemployment.  The ONS explain that many new claims may be from those of us still working but who have lost out financially from the economic impact of the Covid 19 response.

The number of hours we all work has also decreased across the economy.

According to Jonathan Athow at the ONS:

“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. The Claimant Count was up again, though not all of these people are necessarily unemployed.

Vacancies dropped to a record low in May, though there is some evidence this may have now bottomed out. More detailed employment data up to April show a dramatic drop in the number of hours worked, which were down almost nine per cent in the latest period, partly due to a six million rise in people away from work, including those furloughed.

Wage growth has slowed noticeably, with total pay down on the year in real terms.”


Sources & Notes

*The ONS are the Office National Statistics, who provide official data in the UK on the economy.
Some of the numbers quoted for May are ‘experimental data’ which means that although they are published by the ONS, they are still under development and may be revised in the future.