The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) labour market statistics show that just under 1 in 6 (16.3%) young men are unemployed. Unemployment levels among men aged between 18 and 24 have risen by 39% since the onset of the pandemic, which is by some distance the worst outcome of any group in terms of age and gender. The pain of the economic fallout is also reflected in today’s figures by the continued fall in the number of self-employed, while the number of part-time workers continues to shrink at an equally rapid pace. By contrast, the number of people in full-time work has reached record high levels.
Gerwyn Davies, CIPD Senior Labour Market Adviser comments: “Even the most optimistic forecasters would not have expected the economy to have generated a record high number of full-time employees at this stage of the economic cycle. This is due to growth in public sector employment and the series of targeted government measures that have helped preserve jobs against the backdrop of a flexible labour market.
“At the same time, pain is still being inflicted on significant parts of the workforce, especially young male jobseekers and the self-employed. And the worry is that the record increase in redundancies will add fuel to the rising jobless count in the coming months. The government needs to consider extending the Job Retention Scheme to the end of June to keep a lid on unemployment; especially for sectors that will continue to be subjected to public health restrictions. In addition, the government should significantly raise public skills investment to help upskill or retrain staff in sectors hardest hit by the pandemic and for those who have been made redundant during this period.”