Employment in the UK fell by the largest amount in over a decade between April and June, official figures revealed on Tuesday.
The number of people in work decreased by 220,000 on the quarter, the BBC quoted the Office for National Statistics (ONS) as saying.
This was the largest quarterly decrease since May to July 2009, the depths of the financial crisis.
According to the ONS, the number of average hours worked continued to fall in April-June, reaching record lows both on the year and on the quarter.
The number of people claiming universal credit – a benefit for those on low pay as well as unemployed people – rose to 2.7 million in July, up by 117 per cent since March.
The youngest workers, oldest workers and those in manual occupations were the worst hit during the pandemic, the ONS added.
The figures do not include the millions of people who are furloughed, those on zero hours contracts but not getting shifts, or people on temporary unpaid leave from a job as they still count as employed.
For this reason the UK unemployment rate was estimated at 3.9 per cent, largely unchanged on the year and the previous quarter.
“The groups of people most affected are younger workers, 24 and under, or older workers and those in more routine or less skilled jobs,” the BBC quoted Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician at the ONS, as saying.
“This is concerning, as it’s harder for these groups to find a new job or get into a job as easily as other workers.”