Labour Market Statistics December 2020: Record job losses continue to reflect the huge increase in redundancy notices over the summer

Press Releases

15 Dec 2020

Comment from IES Director Tony Wilson on today's labour market statistics:

'Today’s jobs figures show that the labour market was starting to recover through September and October, but clearly remains far weaker than it was before this crisis began.  While the record redundancy figures will likely take the headlines, looking beyond this the employment rate is now unchanged for the last three months and the rises in unemployment are being driven by falls in ‘economic inactivity’ as more of those who were choosing not to look for work during the crisis started to do so again.  Perhaps most strikingly, in the last three months we’ve seen significant falls in employment for men – down by 150 thousand – while employment for women has risen slightly, driven by a rise of over 160 thousand in the number of full-time employees.  This may well reflect people increasing hours in response to their partner losing their job or income, as we’ve seen in previous crises; or the fact that women are more likely to work in ‘key worker’ roles particularly in health and care.

'Looking ahead, today’s figures suggest that the labour market remained very fragile on the eve of the second lockdown with signs in the most recent vacancy figures that recruitment may have started to drop again in early November.  So while today’s figures could have been worse, they are also unlikely to get much better any time soon.  This reiterates the need to do all that we can to support a jobs recovery in the new year – in particular by ensuring that we can get a trade deal with the EU and can do more to boost jobs growth, hiring and support for the unemployed.'

Full briefing note available here