UK payroll numbers plummet by 650,000

The number of people on UK company payrolls fell by 649,000 between March and June 2020, new research from the ONS has revealed.

When compared with May, there were 74,000 fewer people in paid employment. Early estimates for June 2020 also indicate that the number of paid employees is expected to fall by 1.9% when compared with the same month in 2019.

Additionally, between March and May 2020, total actual weekly hours worked in the UK decreased by 175.3 million, or 16.7%, to 877.1 million hours. This was the largest annual decrease since estimates began in 1971, with total hours dropping to its lowest level since May to July 1997.

The ONS said the largest annual decrease in average actual weekly hours worked was in accommodation and food service activities.

Vacancies have also decreased in all sectors in the latest quarter. The ONS said the sectors contributing “most strongly” to the quarterly decrease include wholesale, retail trade and accommodation and food service activities, which have been “impacted heavily by social distancing measures”.

The ONS said: “Vacancies in the UK in April to June 2020 are at the lowest level since the survey began in April to June 2001, at an estimated 333,000; this is 23% lower than the previous record low in April to June 2009.”

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