Economics: Resolution Foundation looks at labour effects of Covid

Date : 18 February 2021

The Resolution Foundation has issued a new report, Long Covid In The Workplace – the title is a reference to the long duration of the Coronavirus emergency and its impact on work, not the medical condition.

The report features original quantitative research carrier out in January 2021, making it more up-to-date than official data from ONS.

The report shows the asymmetrical impact of the Coronavirus crisis on workers, with young adults and the lowest paid being most-affected (figure 7).

Those working in activities affected by “lock-down” were hit hard – hospitality, non-food retail and culture and recreation. The activity of the employer is the most powerful factor determining individual outcomes for workers (figure 8).

Unfortunately, the report presents a fairly gloomy picture of the future for many employees. Amongst respondents currently in work, 14% felt that their job was at risk in some way - the proportion was even higher for lower-paid workers and those in sectors affected by lockdown (figure 17).

14% of workers said that they were looking for a new job and a further 10% expected to start looking soon (figure 18), but the majority of those currently looking for work were not confident of finding something suitable.

These findings have implications for recovery from the economic slump caused by Coronavirus. With many workers clearly feeling insecure, they may be unwilling or unable to spend freely even when the viral threat dissipates.

The Coronavirus crisis is also expected to increase job mobility – around 8% of survey respondents expected to change employment sector in the next year, compared with 4% in a more typical year (see figure 21).

In hospitality, anticipate mobility was even higher – 23% versus 8% in a normal year. Young adults and those in insecure work were also more likely to expect to change sector when compared with the average.

This, again, may impact the ability of hospitality businesses to recover and return to normal operations when government restrictions are relaxed.

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