July 8, 2020 / 9:31 AM / a month ago

UK job ads show lowest ebb for labour demand came in May, ONS says

FILE PHOTO: Builders work on a construction site in London, Britain August 17, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall

LONDON (Reuters) - Demand for labour in Britain may have hit its low point in May before recovering slightly in June, based on a study of online job advertisements, Britain’s Office for National Statistics said on Wednesday.

“Experimental online job adverts data imply the worst impact of the pandemic on labour demand was experienced in May, and some sectors increased hiring in June,” the ONS said, afte looking at data from online jobs portal Adzuna.

May marked the first easing of the coronavirus virus lockdown restrictions and more businesses reopened in June, which the ONS said contributed to an increase of hiring activities in some sectors.

Demand for retail and catering workers picked up modestly in June after collapsing in April and May, while appetite for healthcare workers - who have been in strong demand throughout - showed little change.

Still, the overall index of job vacancies remained well below its pre-COVID levels as of late June, the ONS data showed.

Earlier on Wednesday the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) industry body warned that a “jobs crisis” is underway as its monthly survey showed the collapse in Britain’s labour market eased only slightly last month.

The data underscore the challenge facing finance minister Rishi Sunak ahead of an update to parliament, due around 1130 GMT, on measures to support workers through the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.

Reporting by Andy Bruce, editing by David Milliken

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