“Today’s figures offer a poignant reminder of how well the UK jobs market was performing before the introduction of lockdown restrictions in March and the full impact of the coronavirus was felt across the economy. Employment rose very sharply in the three months to February, driven by an increase in the number of young people and women in full-time employment (up by 172,000). However, employment growth will go into reverse sharply in the coming months, which will hit young people especially hard, as the focus for employers switches to preserving jobs rather than creating them.”
Davies continues: “The Government has made the welcome decision to extend its Job Retention Scheme to the end of June but now needs to make it more flexible to enable furloughed staff to work reduced hours. This change would enable employers to bring back workers from furlough gradually, which is likely to be necessary if lockdown measures are phased out over time. This would give the UK labour market a better chance of recovery once the initial phase of the crisis passes."