The number of employees on payrolls has plummeted by 828,000 since the COVID-19 pandemic began, with the number of redundancies reaching a record high in September to November 2020.
Redundancies hit a new record high in the late summer and early autumn despite the easing of lockdown measures, new estimates from the Office for National Statistics have shown.
The number of employees on payrolls fell by 730,000 between March and July 2020 - the largest quarterly drop since 2009 - but recruitment bodies suggest there have been signs of recovery over recent weeks.
The number of weekly working hours in the UK has fallen by 16.7%, the largest decrease since records began in 1971 with total hours dropping to their lowest level since the early summer of 1997.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a £1,000 "job retention bonus" for employers that bring workers back from furlough.
The UK could be heading into an "employment crisis", commentators have warned, as the number of employees on payrolls dropped by 612,000 in two months.
The UK employment rate reached a record high before social distancing and coronavirus lockdown measures forced the closure of the majority of workplaces.
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