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Abstract:

Blog
What’s Happening to the UK Labour Market under COVID-19? Looking for signs of excess and what it shows (so far). Part 1
Jonathan Wadsworth September 2020
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Tags: labour market; covid-19

Six months into the worst pandemic of the modern era, the worst recession of the modern era and yet and yet .... the labour market is proving to be remarkably resilient (so far) – at least along the dimensions normally used to measure labour market performance. Recessions are usually accompanied by some combination of job loss, hiring freezes, wage cuts or hours reductions. But this of course is a recession with few precedents (the 1918-1920 flu pandemic and aftermath of world war 1 perhaps comes closest). As we shall see the furlough policies put in place have almost certainly helped prevent major job shedding seen elsewhere. In a rapidly evolving crisis, there is a need for regular and timely information to assess the course of labour market performance throughout the crisis and develop strategies to address the problems that emerge. Administrative data, like the claimant count measure of unemployment, are timely but not generally rich enough to provide the comprehensive view of labour market performance needed to inform and develop policy. Household surveys, like the Labour Force Survey (LFS) are much richer but hitherto have been used/made available at more discrete intervals, making assessments of labour market performance better, but less contemporary.