Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician for economic statistics at the Office for National Statistics (ONS), said of the latest unemployment figure, "While only covering the first weeks of restrictions, our figures show COVID-19 is having a major impact on the labour market," Birmingham Mail reported.
"In March employment held up well, as furloughed workers still count as employed, but hours worked fell sharply in late March, especially in sectors such as hospitality and construction," Athow added.
"Through April, though, there were signs of falling employment as real-time tax data show the number of employees on companies' payrolls fell noticeably, and vacancies were sharply down too, with hospitality again falling steepest," he added.
Economist Sir Christopher Pissarides warned hours of work figures "fell catastrophically" while vacancies figures showed the labour market "more or less stopped functioning".
The London School of Economic academic told BBC Radio 4's Today programme employment figures are "not as bad", but added, "Hours of work figures fell catastrophically."
"And also vacancies fell which shows the labour market more or less stopped functioning at the beginning of the lockdown," it added.
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