Nearly 300 firms a minute registered for furlough hand-outs from the government on the first day of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
HM Revenue & Customs says 67,000 firms signed up for the cash aid in the first 30 minutes of the scheme opening at 8am and 140,000 had joined the list by 4pm.
CJRS underwrites 80% of pay for employees who cannot go to work.
The first day of registration covered more than a million jobs, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced during his coronavirus daily briefing from 10 Downing Street later in the day.
The rush to join the scheme underlined the economic impact of the outbreak in the UK, while property portal Rightmove reckons house prices have dropped 0.2% since the lockdown started.
The site has also seen a 40% fall in visits.
Oil hits lowest price since 1979
Meanwhile, markets reacted poorly to continued criticism of the way US President Donald Trump is managing coronavirus.
His attempts to deflect blame for the virus on China and the World Health organisation, coupled with his drive to lift the lockdown across the USA have flustered traders.
West Texas Intermediate prices plunged to their lowest level since 1979 – down a massive 74% to just $10.42 a barrel, while Brent crude fell 5.92% to $26.50.
The FTSE 100 in London ended 0.45% up at 5812.83, while the FTSE 250 tumbled 0.23% to 15822.73.
The Pound lost 0.3% against the US Dollar, down to $1.24 and 0.32% to the Euro, decreasing to €1.14.
Confused traders struggle
Traders seemed confused about which way to go in the US.
The Dow Jones was down 1.11% to 23972 after lunch but the NASDAQ was up 0.01% to 8650.95, while the S&P 500 dropped 0.65% to 2855.90.
Further afield, in Paris the CAC 40 gained 0.65% at 4528.30, in Frankfurt, the DAX added 0.47% to 10675.90, in Madrid the INEX was down 0.64% to 6831.50 and the pan European Euro Stoxx increased 0.73% to 2909.50.
Early day trading in Asia saw the Hang Seng fall 0.21% to 24330.02 and the Nikkei in Tokyo lose 1.15% down to 19669.12.
Gold trod water 0.05% an ounce down to $1.70.