Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

James Reed, Chairman of REED - ONS unemployment data

“Today’s employment statistics paint a bleak picture of how lockdown has affected the UK’s economy. Even with the government’s recently announced measures to support ‘jobs, jobs, jobs’, the labour market is on a knife edge.  The risk of mass unemployment remains high.

“Hopes of a V-shaped recovery were dashed earlier this week by May’s disappointing GDP figures.  Now the ONS unemployment statistics suggest the UK’s economic trajectory could look more like a game of snakes and ladders.  It’s clear that the road to recovery will be long and that there’ll be lots more ups and downs along the way.

“Nevertheless, green shoots are beginning to appear in different sectors of the jobs market. There were marked increases in Financial services and estate agency roles on last month, and there are over 10,000 jobs available separately in education and health and medicine. Furloughed or unemployed workers may need to consider their transferrable skills or reskilling and upskilling to adapt to new sectors where the opportunities exist.

“There is no doubt the government has been generous in its job support packages. As we move towards the next phase of economic recovery there needs to be further measures brought in beyond the Chancellor’s summer statement to help speed up jobs growth and protect livelihoods. No options should be taken off the table.  There is a concerted effort to support the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic, and to help train young workers. But more should be done to unleash apprenticeships and increase young peoples’ skills.

“Government and business will need to work constructively and creatively to help support the jobs market – our Keep Britain Working campaign is doing exactly this.  By bringing together business leaders and workers we’re now developing ideas such as reforming National Insurance, improving employment law and expanding research and development that will support the jobs market and help us recover from this economic upheaval.  We must do all that we can to ensure that  jobs, jobs, jobs does not become dole, dole, dole,”