Data from Indeed suggests the UK’s national lockdown is dragging the jobs market into a double dip decline after the recovery in the number of vacancies slipped into reverse.
The analysis of the number of jobs listed on Indeed each week since February 1st 2020, reveals that the latest lockdown has halted the steady recovery that began last summer. The number of available jobs is now 36 per cent below the previous year’s trend, down from the 35 per cent shortfall recorded at the start of 2021. The last time it stood at that level was during the depths of the first lockdown, in April 2020.
The week-on-week drop marks the first time the figure has worsened since England went into lockdown at the start of November. With redundancies on the rise and official data showing that 1.69m people are out of work and looking for a job in the UK, the slowdown in employers’ demand for staff will increase competition between jobseekers for the roles that are available.
The largest decline has been in sports jobs such as sports coaches and fitness instructors. The sector had seen one of the strongest improvements in December, as gyms remained open under England’s tier 3 restrictions, even while the hospitality sector was closed in those areas. However, January’s return to tighter lockdown restrictions across the UK forced gyms, leisure centres and sports facilities to close their doors again, causing a drop in the job postings trend of eight percentage points in just a week.
Similarly, the beauty and wellness sector has seen a sharp drop in hiring as businesses have had to close nationwide. Meanwhile hiring in childcare has also softened and could be hit further if nurseries are told to close.
The strongest improvement seen in the last week was in dental sector jobs, as dentists remain open as an essential service under the current lockdown restrictions.
“The early signs are that the return of a national lockdown has delivered a setback to the jobs market’s gradual recovery,” said Jack Kennedy, UK Economist at global job site Indeed. “After plunging during the first lockdown last spring, the number of vacancies posted on Indeed had been improving steadily since the summer. January’s apparent reversal of that trend could drag the jobs market into a double dip decline and make life harder for hundreds of thousands of jobseekers, as employers once again batten down the hatches.
“The rapid roll-out of the Government’s vaccination programme is vital, both for public health and for the health of the economy – particularly its ability to create jobs,” he added. “Several healthcare professions such as dentistry, nursing and medicine are still showing robust hiring trends, but vacancies are becoming scarcer in other industries hit hard by successive lockdown restrictions.”