Labour Market

“Not out of the woods yet”: IEA expert responds to latest ONS employment data

Responding to today’s employment data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Professor Len Shackleton, Editorial and Research Felllow at free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:

“The overall picture is better than many expected.

“However, hours worked are still about 8 per cent below pre-pandemic levels, there are still three quarters of a million fewer people in work, and well over three million remain on furlough.

“Employment rates for particular age groups, namely young people and those over 50, are still lower than eighteen months ago.

“The prospects for whole sectors such as arts and entertainment, hotels and accommodation, travel and many bars and restaurants remain obscure so long as they are still prevented from operating as normal.

“If there is a lengthy delay in ending social distancing and mask wearing, and foreign travel remains largely closed beyond this summer, we will surely see many more businesses close and jobs lost, particularly with the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme looming.

“So, we are certainly not out of the woods yet and, while welcoming the picture sketched in these latest figures, we should keep our fingers tightly crossed.”


Notes to editors

Contact: Emily Carver, Head of Media, 07715942731

IEA spokespeople are available for further comment.

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