Millions of furloughed workers have returned to work – but support for hard-hit sectors will be needed beyond October

Analysing the HMRC Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme data

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This morning, HMRC published its latest round of statistics on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (JRS). For the first time, we have a time series of the number of furloughed workers, as opposed to the cumulative total, meaning we can see how use of the scheme has evolved since the start of April. Here are … Continued

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From 'The Full Monty: Facing up to the scale of the COVID-19 jobs crisis'

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We often have more questions submitted for our event Q&A sessions than we’re able to answer. Where this is the case, we’ll endeavour to respond to a selection of the most interesting or most representative questions that went unanswered. The questions below were submitted to our panel for the event  The Full Monty: Facing up … Continued

Five things we’ve learned from today’s labour market data

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This morning the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published the first major set of labour market data that covers the lockdown period, with data from April on vacancies, claimant unemployment, and employee jobs. Of course, the scale of the crisis has been clear for some time in other data – including Universal Credit claims and … Continued

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From the event 'The corona class of 2020: How to support young people leaving education amid the crisis'

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We often have more questions submitted for our event Q&A sessions than we’re able to answer. Where this is the case, we’ll endeavour to respond to a selection of the most interesting or most representative questions that went unanswered. The questions below were submitted to our panel for the event The corona class of 2020: … Continued

Unprecedented support for employees’ wages last week has been followed up by equally significant, and even more generous, support for the self-employed. But gaps remain

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Yesterday, the Chancellor announced that last week’s pledge to underwrite 80 per cent of the wages of employees without work to do during this crisis is being matched with significant grants to the self-employed. This is an important addition to existing plans to support employees, and in many ways a more generous offer. The Self-Employed … Continued

Key take-aways from the Chancellor’s package of measures to support workers in the coronavirus crisis

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The Chancellor’s announcements on Friday 20 March were unprecedented in their scale and reach, and absolutely vital for supporting firms and family incomes in the face of the current crisis. Here are five key take-aways on how these changes will affect families, and three next steps for the Government to consider.   1. At a … Continued

Is the government’s apprenticeships strategy set to change?

Changing policy context could prove welcome if it means focusing Levy funds on the people that really need Apprenticeships

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While the latest data on apprenticeship starts don’t show much change on previous months – down on recent years, with the number going to older apprentices at higher levels of study is up – the backdrop to apprenticeships has changed. For a start, we have a new Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills, who … Continued

The new government needs to focus on the alarming fall in apprenticeship starts

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With a new year, a new-ish government and the country soon to (officially) exit the European Union, there’s hope that policy makers will renew their focus on domestic concerns. And given the figures published today (Thursday) showing an alarming fall in apprenticeship starts – a greater focus on this issue would be a good place … Continued

Living standards
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Incomes
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Jobs
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Labour market
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Pay
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Inequality & poverty
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Cities and regions
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Political parties and elections

Election 2019: how Britain’s North-South divide is changing

Closing the divide once and for all is a challenge all political parties say they want to embrace

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The North-South divide is a theme often used by – and against – politicians to highlight inequality in the UK, and election time is no exception. But this divide has evolved over time, and is by no means the only geographical divide in the country.   The big economic divide Productivity – or how efficiently … Continued

Skills
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Apprenticeships
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Political parties and elections

Apprenticeships and adult education: how do the major parties compare?

Latest Department for Education figures show the problems that need addressing

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While big rows over Brexit and the size of state we want have tended to dominate the news cycle over recent weeks, the 2019 general election campaign hasn’t been entirely devoid of skills policy. In fact, the Liberal Democrat, Labour and Conservative Party manifestos all include bold – albeit thinly detailed – proposals on apprenticeships … Continued

The flaws of the UK labour market won’t solve themselves

Time to learn from other Anglo-Saxon economies

Sinner or saint? The UK labour market is lauded for reaching record levels of employment at the same time as it is lacerated for the insecurities that are said to be its central feature. Two things can, however, be true at once: an economy can be job-rich at the same time as too many of … Continued

Are higher-level apprenticeships going to better-off apprentices?

What the new Department of Education statistics tell us

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This morning the Department for Education (DfE) published figures on the number of apprenticeships that were started in July 2019 – the final month of the 2018/19 academic year. And although the numbers are still provisional, they provide us with a pretty clear picture of how things shaped up for the apprenticeships sector. The big … Continued

The labour market is delivering on jobs and pay – it is vital for living standards that we keep it that way

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A tight labour market is finally delivering decent pay growth. In the three months to July 2019, average weekly regular pay (i.e. excluding bonuses) grew by 1.9 per cent on the previous year (slightly down on the previous month). Given that average real pay grew by 2.1 per cent in the eight years prior to … Continued

What do the latest apprenticeship figures tell us?

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This August, as always, brought a host of headlines on academic results: from A level triumphs to parents’ confusion with the new(ish) GCSE marking system. Rather less attention, as always, was paid to students who pursued qualifications and pathways outside the traditional GCSE-to-A level-to-university route. For instance, apprenticeships, where young people can – in theory … Continued

Is the minimum wage pushing people into self-employment?

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Two big changes in the labour market over the past two decades have been the rise in self-employment and the introduction and uprating of the minimum wage. Is there a connection between these trends? Legally, of course, there is no connection – the minimum wage applies to employees only. But economically, we would expect one. … Continued

Two and a half reasons to be cheerful about our strong and stable labour market

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Today’s labour market statistics were, to use a technical term, boring. In a world of high political and economic drama, our labour market has served up headline measures of real pay growth and employment which basically haven’t changed for four months in a row. We shouldn’t bemoan unchanging numbers. Like air travel and digging tunnels, … Continued

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