“The unemployment rate continued to rise in the final quarter of 2020, and with local restrictions and lockdowns being increased during that time, this comes as no surprise. This winter has been tough. Many businesses have turned to temporary workers to help them through, and this has brought the number of temporary employees up to 1.56 million, the highest since early 2018. Even during normal times, one in five businesses that employ temporary staff say they wouldn’t be able to operate without them – during a crisis, this flexibility becomes even more valuable to firms and to workers who are trying to get into a job and earn quickly.
“There are also many positive signs here for the months ahead – the number of payrolled employees and the total hours worked continue to increase, as does the number of vacancies in the labour market. Our own data tells us that employers want to hire new staff in the coming months – with the plan for easing lockdown now in place and firms able to see the path ahead, we should see some of that pent-up demand start to be unleashed as the economy gradually opens.”