Jobs, jobs, jobs

Evaluating the effects of the current economic crisis on the UK labour market

This report presents new evidence on the effects of the coronavirus crisis on workers. It uses the results of a new survey of 6,000 working-age adults to highlight which groups have struggled the most as the crisis has evolved, who is at risk as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is replaced by the Job Support Scheme, and the prospects for the future.

We find that while there have been significant improvements in the levels of labour market activity since the height of the lockdown, unemployment is now on the rise. Even among those still in work, many have lost pay and hours, and the impact has been worst in London and in more deprived areas of the country. There is little evidence that workers are reallocating into the sectors that have been more protected from the economic hit caused by the pandemic, and respondents reveal worrying signs of redundancies to come.

With the labour market crisis likely to accelerate over the winter as restrictions tighten and support becomes less generous, policy makers should aim to protect the incomes of those most affected, limit the rise in unemployment, and enable people to play their part in suppressing the virus. This should include extending eligibility for the full furlough version of the Job Support Scheme, investing in job creation, keeping the £1,000 a year benefit uplift, and improving the financial incentives to self-isolate.