The number of UK permanent job vacancies has been cut in half by the coronavirus outbreak, according to new figures.
Jobs data, released today by growth analytics platform cube19 for the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo), showed that permanent vacancies in the last week of March were down by 50 per cent year-on-year.
Contract vacancies were down by about 40 per cent in the same period, while the number of interviews fell by 50 per cent.
It comes as Universal Credit claims increased tenfold to almost 1m people last month thanks to the Covid-19 outbreak.
Chief executive of Apsco Ann Swain said: “While many firms have slowed down hiring, they have not yet pressed stop and we are hearing from members that although this is undoubtedly a really tough period, there is definitely hiring still going on.
“There are obvious sectors such as life sciences, technology, healthcare and logistics registering live roles but also our members have reported activity in areas such as finance, HR and digital marketing.”
The effects of the UK’s lockdown have begun to be felt across the economy, with the manufacturing sector having its largest one-month contraction in March for a decade.
The Times reported yesterday that chancellor Rishi Sunak told ministers that GDP could fall by “25 per cent to 30 per cent” in the second quarter.
The government will review its three-month lockdown next week, with an extension considered to be a certainty.