UK jobs recovery impacted by remote working and local lockdowns

26 Oct 2020

Local lockdowns coupled with working from home may be hindering the UK’s jobs recovery, according to new research unveiled on Monday.

Following the lockdown restrictions introduced in March in a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus, workers are again being encouraged by the government to work from home where possible.

As a result, high streets and city centres are deserted, meaning certain service industry firms are struggling that depend on catering for offices, Sky News reports.

According to the Centre for Cities, job vacancies have not as yet returned to pre-coronavirus levels in 63 of the towns and cities that were analysed.

The organisation revealed that urban areas in Scotland and southern England are amongst the worst affected regions.

The steepest fall was recorded in Aberdeen, with a 75% year-on-year decline, followed by Edinburgh (57%), then Belfast and Crawley (both 55%).

The sixth largest fall in job vacancies was registered in London at 52%. Overall vacancies in Britain currently stand at 46% trailing 2019’s level, according to the report.

Increased high street footfall, and a faster recovery in job vacancies was seen in areas including Birkenhead, Chatham and Hull.

Andrew Carter, chief executive of Centre for Cities stated: "The chancellor made welcome amendments to the Job Support Scheme which should help save jobs, but many places across the country didn't have enough jobs before the pandemic hit so creating more will be vital to prevent long-term economic damage to their local economies."

In addition, Pawel Adrjan, an economist at Indeed commented: "The timid recovery in job vacancies is a portent of the distress towns and cities could face if restrictions continue to spring up in parts of the country already reeling from imposed lockdowns and reduced footfall.

"With the remote work trend showing no sign of abating, and entire regions being placed under stricter control, service jobs in large towns and cities could become scarcer still and pull the UK into a jobs spiral. That could mean a very long winter ahead for the millions of people currently unemployed."

An HM Treasury spokesperson added: "We've put in place a comprehensive plan to protect, support and create jobs in every region of the UK, and recently increased the generosity of our winter support schemes, including our expanded Job Support Scheme, which will protect jobs in businesses that are open or closed.

"We are also providing additional funding for local authorities and devolved administrations to support local businesses.”