The CoVid-19 pandemic has awoken many to the role that key workers play in our society. But who exactly are they, and what do we know about them? This short article provides a summary of analysis carried out using pre-crisis Labour Force Survey data to help give us a basic understanding of this group of workers.
This morning the ONS released the latest data from the Labour Force Survey. This is the main source for high quality data about what is happening in the labour market in the UK, and the regions and nations.
Today’s data cover the period up to the end of March, and so include the initial period of lockdown in the UK following in late March.
Data from DWP on new claims and new starters onto the main out of work benefit, Universal Credit (UC), were also released this morning. They cover broadly the period to mid-April and give us an indication of those turning to the social security system for support following a drop in their earnings in the first few weeks of the lockdown.
This article provides an overview of what this data tells us so far. Overall, we have seen a fall in employment, hours and pay and this has fed through to Universal Credit claims. As charts later on in this article show, some of the shifts that have happened in these data are unlike anything seen before. Undoubtedly, these figures would have been a lot worse without UK Government schemes, such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), but even so, it appears that many households in Scotland are facing a significant financial impact.
The construction industry has been disrupted enormously over the course of the Coronavirus pandemic, not least because that vast majority of the workforce is not able to work from home. Whilst the official UK Government advice is for sites to continue to operate if work can be carried out at safe social-distances, the Scottish Government has advised all non-essential construction work to stop. This has meant site-closures across Scotland and, inevitably, drastically reduced activity in the sector.
We can’t say with any certainty the damage the pandemic will have on the sector. We do know, however, that the effects of any impacts will be widespread – on the latest available data, the construction sector is estimated to account for 5.8% of GDP and roughly 6.6% of employment, or around 177,000 people.
Yesterday we looked at the options for people who have seen their earnings disappear but are excluded from the UK Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Self Employed Income Support Scheme. For those who can’t find alternative employment, the social security system will be the place many turn for support. And this is indeed what is happening. Universal Credit (UC) is where new claimants will head, and yesterday the DWP gave an update on UK caseload. Over the last fortnight, they have processed 950,000 successful claims, ten times the usual amount for a fortnightly period.
This morning the latest UK data for growth in Q1 2019 were released. These put UK growth at 0.5% in Q1, with growth in production, construction and service sectors.
In this blog we release our nowcasts of the Scottish economy in Q1 2019 and Q2 2019.
The UK numbers were stronger than growth in the previous quarter (which was a disappointing 0.2%), and stronger than might have been expected.