Economic Report: As many as 500,000 were furloughed without pay in the U.K. in May

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A sign informing shoppers that the shop is temporarily closed is displayed outside a John Lewis store in Oxford Street, central London on July 2, 2020. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP) (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)

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Between 450,000 and 500,000 people were furloughed in the U.K. without pay in May, according to data released Thursday.

Those people are officially counted as employed, allowing the U.K. unemployment rate to stay at 3.9% in the three months to May, the Office for National Statistics said Thursday.

The ONS also estimated that payrolls were down around 650,000 in June compared with March 2020.

Vacancies in the U.K. in April to June were at the lowest level since the survey began in 2001 at an estimated 333,000.

The claimant count fell 28,100 in June against expectations of a rise.

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