The first official data showing the impact of the coronavirus on U.K. unemployment has been revealed this morning

The amount of people out of work rose by 50,000 to 1.35 million in the three months to March

The figures though only cover the first week of the lockdown and the total is likely to worsen sharply in the coming months.

The number of people claiming unemployment benefits in April increased by 70%.

The Office of National Statistics said that jobless claims under Universal Credit surged by 856,000 to 2.1 million in April

More than 2m people are receiving state aid, which is up from 850-thousand in March.

Matthew Fell, CBI Chief UK Policy Director, said:

“The data for the first few weeks of the COVID-19 crisis reveals sharp falls in vacancies and hours worked, coupled with soaring benefits claims. While employment shows a smaller decline, pointing to the early success of the job retention scheme, the severe impact of the pandemic on the UK labour market is already becoming clear.

“Looking ahead, how the job retention scheme evolves in line with restarting the economy will have a big impact on jobs and earnings. Extending it until October was a bold decision, giving businesses and workers medium-term security. Now, greater flexibility is needed to help businesses slowly bring people back to work where it is safe to do so.”


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