Demand for labour in Britain hit its lowest point in May, a study by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) today concluded.
Analysing data form online jobs portal Adzuna, the ONS said its findings implied that the worst impact of the pandemic on labour demand was experienced in May, while some sectors increased hiring in June.
It found the reopening of more businesses in June contributed to an increase in hiring activity in some sectors, as opposed to in May when only certain businesses brought back their workforces.
Demand for retail and catering jobs had collapsed in April and May, before picking up modestly in June.
Meanwhile advertisements for healthcare workers stayed strong throughout the pandemic, showing little change, as the NHS brought on more staff to treat patients.
However, the overall index of job vacancies remained well below its pre-coronavirus levels, the ONS reported.
The findings came as the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) industry body warned that a “job crisis” may be on its way, as a survey showed the collapse in Britain’s labour market eased only marginally last month.
The data collected by the ONS highlights the challenges facing chancellor Rishi Sunak as he mapped out measures to support workers through the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic today.
The Treasury boss revealed massive public spending to the tune of £30bn in order to bolster the UK economy, in what people are calling his mini Budget.
Among the announcements was a new stamp duty threshold, effective immediately, and a £9bn scheme to convince businesses to re-hire furloughed staff.
Sunak pledged to give businesses £1,000 for every employee they bring back from furlough and keep on until January, in a bid to avoid mass redundancies once the furlough scheme ends in October.