Unemployment Response

Further to the latest ONS Unemployment figures, leading names have given their responses

Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation said:

“This morning’s data is no surprise. The employment rate has been buoyant because of the furlough scheme and has started to drop as it ends and employers are forced to make redundancies where they cannot be avoided. The pick-up in unemployment and spike in redundancies emphasises again that tackling rising unemployment needs a team effort from Government and businesses designed to help people transition to growing areas of the labour market. The increasing number of vacancies emphasises that jobs are being created, in line with what our Jobs Recovery Tracker has been saying. The situation is already very different to the period covered by the ONS – we’re counted 1.2 million job ads across the UK right now.

“The data underpins the importance of getting the winter right economically. Making sure we support demand in the economy and people unable to work should be our priority. This means supporting temporary workers affected by local lockdowns and looking at how to support all the businesses in the affected supply chains that stand to lose out. Cutting employers National Insurance contributions could help boost hiring and keep people in work. It’s important we also focus on measures that will affect the economy in the long-term, securing a Brexit deal that guarantees smooth trading relations with the EU which is essential for our economic stability.”

Gerwyn Davies, CIPD Senior Labour Market Adviser comments:

“Today’s figures show that male youth employment prospects are fading particularly fast in the face of the pandemic. And the worry is that the situation will get much worse, with employment prospects deteriorating rapidly across the board as the Job Retention Scheme closes alongside a swell of school leavers and new graduates who are currently seeking to enter the jobs market.

“What is clear is that much more immediate public investment for training and re-skilling is required above what has been announced to-date as part of the Government’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee. This would help workers in manual and elementary occupations in particular, who we know have suffered most from the pandemic develop the skills they need to compete for jobs in parts of the economy that continue to grow.”

IES Director Tony Wilson said:

Redundancies are growing at their fastest ever rate, doubling in the last three months alone.  This morning’s figures confirm that redundancies will peak higher in this recession than they did in the last crisis, and we’re still forecasting that there’ll be at least six hundred thousand lay-offs by the end of year.  So unfortunately the worst may well still be ahead of us.  Revisions to earlier estimates also show that the official measure of employment has fallen by nearly half a million since the pandemic began, which is the fastest fall in employment since 2009.  This is now starting to feed through into higher unemployment, which again is going to continue to rise through the autumn. There are some signs of improvement however in today’s data, with the most recent flash estimate for payroll employees showing that employment started to level off through September. While this is positive, with the coronavirus infections now rising strongly again it feels unlikely that we’ll start to see much growth in employment and hiring in the coming months.

Jack Kennedy, UK economist at the global job site Indeed, commented:

“The pandemic’s human cost, in jobs lost and livelihoods impacted, is slowly being laid bare. The number of people claiming benefits has surged to 2.7 million and two thirds of a million fewer people are working now compared to March.

“And yet for all that, this is far from a labour market in freefall. New jobs are being created, and in the three months to the end of September, the total number of vacancies jumped at a record-breaking pace.

“Indeed’s data shows that the sector burning brightest is construction. A mini-boom in building has seen the number of construction jobs listed on the site jump by 267% between May and the start of October.

“Other sectors seeing a rapid increase in recruitment include cleaning & sanitation, which saw vacancies rise by 148%, and production & manufacturing (up by 173%) during the same period.

“Nevertheless for all its encouraging signs, this remains a labour market shielded by an almighty, and temporary, fig leaf – the Government’s furlough scheme.

“With furlough due to end in just a few weeks and doubts about the effectiveness of its successor scheme, thousands of struggling employers are currently having to make agonising decisions about the viability of some of their staff’s jobs.”



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