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UK Employment Figures, August 2020: Jobs Landscape Remains Bleak Amidst Low Vacancy Levels

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The latest ONS data offers a snapshot of the labour market before the Job Retention Scheme […]

The latest ONS data offers a snapshot of the labour market before the Job Retention Scheme started to be reined in at the end of July. A further 115,000 drop in employment in July meant that 730,000 jobs have been lost since March. The main driver of that has been fewer people moving into employment, with flows out of employment having been kept in check so far by the millions of jobs placed on furlough. 

There was a modest uptick in vacancies to 370,000 in the three months to July, but this remains less than half of pre-crisis levels. That echoes the trend in job postings on Indeed, where overall job postings remain 56% below last year’s trend as of 7th August. 

As the lifeline of the Job Retention Scheme slowly comes to an end — and as unemployment is predicted to rise— there will be a scramble for available jobs during an inevitable rocky period for the economy.The problem for jobseekers is that the labour market has been turned upside down. Not only are there far fewer jobs today than there were last year or even in early 2020, the mix of available roles has shifted too, which means some of the jobs people search for simply are no longer there. That has resulted in certain jobs becoming  a lot more competitive. We have already seen jobseekers in hardest-hit occupations react by searching more outside their occupation.