14th August 2020

PwC reviews latest UK labour market data

Jing Teow, senior economist at PwC, comments on this week's labour market data:

"The data shows the continued negative impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on UK workers. The employment rate in the three months to June weakened, mainly driven by the fall in self-employed and part-time workers. Flash estimates of payroll employees showed that this fell by 730,000 compared to March 2019, while pay packets have shrunk.

The monthly data paints a slightly more positive picture of the labour market. With stores and businesses gradually reopening, vacancies are showing improvement in the three months to July, rising by 10% compared to April to June. Analysis of weekly job adverts show the volume of job adverts remaining steady at just above its 2019 average in July, with notable improvements in the wholesale and retail and catering and hospitality sectors. Faster data also suggest that around 7% of the workforce among businesses that remain operational returned to work in the first two weeks of July.

"The critical priority is to make sure that these gains are sustained, especially to support the return of furloughed staff back to work. This is why easing the transition from the end of the current furlough scheme by encouraging businesses to bring back workers through the Job Retention Bonus, and also stimulating consumer demand to sustain business activity and jobs is so important. We also cannot ignore the risks of targeted lockdowns should infections increase, which would be a setback for workers."