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  • KPB & Co Research

​UK Employment Situation

According to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the number of people on payrolls in the United Kingdom ( UK ) declined by approximately 650K to 28.4Mn in June 2020​ when compared to that of March 2020. Relative to the previous month the number of employed people were 74K lower. The decline in payrolls was broad based with declines seen even in self-employed and part-time workers. While the number of employed people continued to decline, the pace of the decline has been slowing due in part to the re-opening of the UK economy. In June 2020, the number of individuals claiming universal benefit declined slightly to 2.6Mn - figure includes the working poor and those without a job - when compared to May 2020. Since March 2020, the number of claimants has increased by 112.2% (1.4Mn). Of late, claims to universal benefits may not fully reflect the deterioration in employment conditions. As explained by the ONS:

Enhancements to Universal Credit as part of the UK government's response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) mean that an increasing number of people became eligible for unemployment-related benefit support, although still in work.​         - Office for National Statistics

Despite the decrease in the number of people ​on payrolls the unemployment rate held steady at 3.9% on account of a decrease in the number of people actively looking for work. 

Other Notable Data

The ONS also outlined the following employment data:

  • ​ During May 2020 around 450,000 to 500,000 employees identified themselves as being temporarily away from their jobs because of the coronavirus.
  • About 8.46Mn people aged between 16 and 64 years are not in the labour force, 157,000 fewer than a year earlier.​
  • Between March to May 2019 and March to May 2020, total actual weekly hours worked in the UK decreased by 175.3Mn.​
  • Pay is now growing at a slower rate than inflation, at negative 1.3% for total real pay, the lowest rate since April to June 2014. Regular pay growth in real terms is also negative, at negative 0.2%. ​

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