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What's Happening to the Labour Market under COVID-19? Part 2
Jonathan Wadsworth
September 2020
Paper No' :

Tags: labour market; covid-19

So if unemployment, employment or more marginal types of working appear little changed under COVID, things are different from normal if we look elsewhere. Figure 1 shows the percentage of workers who say they had a job but were away and did zero hours during the survey week. The weekly norms show large spikes around Christmas, Easter and the summer holiday season. However, there is a notable departure from the norm that begins in week 10 of 2020 and increases rapidly to 24% of the employed by week 16 (four weeks into lockdown). This is around 5.4 million more workers away from their jobs than expected at that week in the year. By week 22, the start of the government’s gradual relaxation of lockdown, absences from work had fallen back to just under 20% of the employed workforce, but then rise again in week 26 (last week of June). There are around 31.5 million people in work in the UK. Adding up these work absences "excesses" from week 5 to week 26 suggests that have been around 69 million additional person-week absences from work since the crisis began. This is equivalent to the entire UK workforce doing nothing for 2 weeks and 1 day.