An ONS survey, including early payroll estimates for March, show 56,000 job losses in the month, with more than half of those made redundant aged under 25.
The most affected demographics were under 25’s (making up 53.7%), over a quarter were living in London, and over 40% worked in accommodation and food services.
Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst, Hargreaves Lansdown, commented, “The latest lockdown killed off tens of thousands of jobs for young people, Londoners, and those working in hotels and restaurants. March was the final straw for many businesses, who finally gave up and let staff go.”
Between last December and this February unemployment fell 50,000, the first quarterly fall since the end of 2019, making it a record fall.
However todays ONS figures paint a bleaker picture, Coles continued, “The furlough scheme is keeping a lid on redundancies: we saw a record fall in job losses in the three months to February.
“However, when the Chancellor announced the future for the scheme, businesses took stock. And while some decided it was enough to soldier on, many of them realised that social distancing and restrictions meant some staff had to go – particularly in hospitality businesses.”
Coles explained the blow to younger workers comes as a function of the concentration of under 25’s in the hospitality industry, adding, “Job losses at this stage in life, with alternatives so thin on the ground, can make it particularly difficult for those with little experience to get back into the workplace.”
Elsewhere the ONS survey highlighted significant wage growth, total pay (including bonuses) was up 4.5% and regular pay was up 4.4%. However, when you remove the impact of the loss of lower paid jobs to the economy, underlying wage growth was around 2.5%.
Coles concluded, “While wage rises for those still in employment look like good news at first glance, the figures have been flattered enormously by the loss of these lower paid jobs. When you remove the impact of job losses, wage inflation almost halves – to 2.5%.”