The number of people out of work and claiming work-related benefits in the UK jumped 23% to 2.8 million in May. In March, at the beginning of the Covid-19 lockdown, the figure was 1.24 million, representing a 126% increase.
The Office for National Statistics said its May claimant figures were included in the unemployment data to give a more up-to-date indication of the impact of the pandemic on jobs across the country.
The ONS said the most striking fall was in the total number of hours worked on average each week, which slumped by a record 8.9% in the three months to April 2020.
HMRC data showed that in May the number of people in work fell by 2.1% – that’s 612,000 people – compared with March.