Yet a sharp drop in vacancies signals trouble ahead. Vacancies fell 170,000 in three months to April, the biggest drop since the series began in 2001. Job openings had all but collapsed entirely by the time the lockdown was announced, according to research from the Institute for Fiscal Studies, with the decline coming across the wage distribution.
Benefit claims made by unemployed and underemployed people in the U.K. rose more last month than at any time on record, with the pain spread throughout the country. Jobseeker’s Allowance and related Universal Credit claims jumped by 856,500 in April alone. For context, the worst month during the 2008-09 financial crisis saw claims increase by 143,000.
An astonishing 1.8million have claimed Universal Credit, 250,000 claimed jobseekers’ allowance and 20,000 claimed Employment and Support Allowance between March 16 and the end of April.
Even now UC claims are still running at around 25,000 a day – double the usual rate, MPs heard.
The new figures suggest around 5million people may now be on Universal Credit in the UK – many of them in work on low incomes.