The looming jobs crisis is beginning to bite after the number of people in work plunged by a 649,000 since lockdown began in the fastest slump on record and vacancies hit the lowest level since figures started being collated almost two decades ago.
Another 74,000 jobs were lost last month with the number of people on payrolls down to 28.4m, according to the Office for National Statistics.
This drop of 1.9pc compared with last June effectively wipes out more than two years of strong jobs growth.
It is likely to be an underestimate of the total hit to the jobs market because it does not include the self-employed, and a significant number of workers have been protected by the furlough scheme but may not end up being taken back on by their employers.
Just over a fifth of staff are still being paid by the Government to stay at home, although this is down on the roughly one-third who have been furloughed at some point, indicating some jobs are returning as the lockdown lifts.
Half of all employees are now going back into work as normal - the highest share since lockdown began in late March.
Life is slowly getting back to something like normal, with retailers reporting footfall is back to 60pc of last summer’s level, led by retail parks that are most capable of implementing social distancing.
However, even in companies that are reopening, costs are higher as they install measures to fight the spread of the virus and to reassure staff and customers they are safe.
Almost three-quarters of all businesses reported higher operating costs as a result, with 90pc of accommodation and food services companies feeling the pinch.
The combination of higher costs plus weak demand means wages are falling for the first time since 2014.
Average weekly pay in the three months to May was down by 0.3pc on the same period last year, with bonuses tumbling by more than 14pc and regular pay growth grinding to a halt in the latest month.
Once inflation is taken into account, real-terms pay is down 1.3pc.
Workers in the private sector are bearing the brunt, particularly in industries including manufacturing, construction, retail and hospitality.
Life will remain tough for anyone seeking a new job, either because they have lost theirs or are seeking a pay rise.
Just 333,000 job vacancies were available in the three months to June, the ONS said - the lowest number since these records began in 2001 - and down from more than 800,000 at the start of the year. This is almost a quarter below the lowest point reached in the financial crisis.
Such a low level of vacancies would normally indicate an unemployment rate of about 8pc, according to economists at Deutsche Bank, but the furlough scheme has stopped the official jobless rate rising.
The unemployment rate was unexpectedly flat at 3.9pc during the quarter, defying economists' predictions of a 4.2pc rise.
An ONS official said the number was artificially suppressed by people who were off work without pay but who still told surveyors they believed they had a job.
Andrew Wishart of Capital Economics said this showed the rapid implementation and huge take-up of the furlough scheme had minimised the labour market damage from the coronavirus crisis so far.
“Overall, in the face of the sharpest downturn in recorded economic history, the damage to the labour market is remarkably limited,” he added.
Mr Wishart expects another wave of layoffs when the furlough scheme ends to cause the 1pc fall in employment this crisis to swell to 5pc - twice the drop of the financial crisis. With the furlough and self-employed income support schemes supporting more than a third of the workforce, “that would be a good result”.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak last week announced £30bn more measures to stem an expected surge in unemployment, including bonuses for companies that bring back furloughed workers.
However, companies from G4S, the outsourcing giant, to retailers Boots and John Lewis have since announced job cuts. Read where the jobs axe is falling across the UK here.
Anneliese Dodds, the shadow chancellor, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: "We do think that for particularly badly affected sectors there does need to be continuing support, otherwise we will see extra waves of people potentially moving into unemployment or economic inactivity."