The IES gives the latest update on the labour market

12 November 2020

The Institute for Employment Studies (IES) has released its latest briefing in relation to the labour market, which highlights the fact that, unfortunately, the market continued to weaken in the period from July to September 2020.

As expected, employment levels fell, whilst unemployment rose. Unemployment actually reached the highest level observed since the end of 2016. Employment levels have been lower due to the fact that more people are leaving work, but less are moving back into it.

Redundancies were also at a high level in the three-month period to September, and the IES predicts that they will continue to grow over the course of the next two months, before hopefully falling back down again at the start of the new year, in 2021.

The IES comments that whilst the level of redundancies is concerning, the figures could have painted a much more worrying picture. Redundancies have risen by 315,000 in this quarter, whilst employment rates have fallen by 570,000 since the start of the outbreak of coronavirus. However, there are five million workers who were not working during lockdown who had returned to work by the end of September, so it is not all doom and gloom.

It is also suggested that there were signs that more vacancies were becoming available in September and October, particularly within smaller companies.

Significant falls in employment appear to be driven by lower self-employment amongst men, particularly full-time work, and lower part-time employment amongst women. Full-time employment for women, however, has seen a significant increase, and there has been a shift whereby more part-time workers are requesting to increase their hours.

Figures show that youth employment has decreased by over 300,000 and that the youth employment rate is at its lowest since 2014.

The quarterly disability figures seem to suggest that the very wide employment gap that exists for disabled people has not narrowed during the pandemic, and that disabled people are now two-and-a-half times more likely than their non-disabled peers to be unemployed.

The paper can be downloaded in full here.


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