It’s safe to safe that the Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the UK labour market. According to official figures, unemployment increased by 50,000 to 1.35 million in the first three months of 2020.
In April, the number of people claiming unemployment benefits also increased by the most since records began, reaching just short of 2.1 million for the first time since 1996. 856,600 people signed up for Universal Credit and Jobseeker’s Allowance benefits in April, increasing the overall UK claimant count by 69% in just one month.
Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician for economic statistics at the Office for National Statistics has been quoted in the press stating, “While only covering the first weeks of restrictions, our figures show Covid-19 is having a major impact on the labour market. In March, employment held up well, as furloughed workers still counted as employed, but hours worked fell sharply in late March, especially in sectors such as hospitality and construction.”
“Through April, though, there were signs of falling employment as real-time tax data shows the number of employees on companies’ payrolls fell noticeably, and vacancies were sharply down too, with hospitality again falling steepest.”
What’s more, the number of job vacancies available has also decreased substantially, with the number of empty posts dropping by 170,000 to 637,000, compared to the previous quarter.
Research from an independent think tank also found that, as is often the case in economic slumps, young people were most likely to have lost work or seen their income drop as a result of the corona crisis. The Resolution Foundation identified that more than one in three 18-24 year olds is now earning less than before the outbreak.
Around 25% of 18 -24 year olds have been furloughed, while a further 9% have lost their jobs all together, representing the highest level of job loss across all age groups. This is due to the fact that industries that traditionally employ younger staff, including pubs, restaurants, shops, and gyms, have been forced to remain closed during the pandemic.
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