649,000 jobs lost during lockdown; youth among the hardest hit

With the worst very much still to come, Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures released today (16 July 2020) indicate that at least 649,000 jobs were lost between March and June as the country was in lockdown to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

With news of more mass redundancies everyday, the statistics show that 74,000 jobs were lost in the last month alone. The service sector have been among the hardest hit however a large number of high street retailers have gone into administration too, resulting in tens of thousands of jobs losses.

Manufacturing and the airline industry have also been hard hit in recent months. But it would be wrong to think we’re anywhere close to being through the worst of the expected economic slump. Even before COVID-19 struck the global capitalist economy was heading towards a hard slump having been stagnant since the 2008 Financial Crisis, with no ‘boom’ in between.

A survey by the pro-capitalist British Chamber of Commerce and Totaljobs found that at least around a third of companies had already made redundancies between April and June. Around a third anticipate making redundancies over the new three months.

Bigger firms are more likely to slash jobs, with 41% of large or small and medium-size companies envisaging redundancies in the next quarter, compared to 18% of micro-businesses.

Young people have been hit particularly hard by the crisis. The ONS have found that “the estimated number of people unemployed aged 16 to 24 years increased by 47,000 on the year“.

A fifth of all of those claiming out-of-work benefits, 514,770, are aged between 18 and 24. The number of young new benefits claimants who have signed on between March and June is 276,000 – more than doubling over three months.

Analysis by the BBC has found that there are now parliamentary constituencies with nearly 20% of the youth on Universal Credit or Jobseeker’s Allowance – including Walton in Liverpool and south Blackpool.

It should be remembered that this is just the tip of the iceberg. 9 million workers are still currently furloughed, essentially neither employed nor unemployed, with the government paying their salaries. Even right wing economists anticipate that as the scheme is wound down millions will be at risk of redundancy.

The scheme is currently set to end of 31 October, with employers being asked to pay slight increments from 1 August, eventually rising to up to 20% of wages costs by 1 October.

YCL General Secretary Johnnie Hunter said, “we’ve now had weeks of this shambolic Tory government outlining their economic plan to save jobs and reassure financial markets. We are seeing the results of their incompetence.”

Hundreds of thousands of jobs already lost. Hundreds of thousands of redundancies in the pipeline. Potentially millions thrown on the scrap heap on the near horizon. The youth among the hardest hit with no relief effort planned,” he continued.

“The Tories have had countless opportunities to intervene to save jobs and the economy, including the ban on redundancies called for the communists. Instead they have preferred condition free corporate cash handouts,” he added.

The YCL General Secretary concluded, “young workers must be active in their trade unions. We need a mass movement to fight to save every job and to win investment to protect communities. Breaking free from EU state aid rules offers the chance to rebuild Britain’s productive industry and manufacturing to guarantee real jobs and apprenticeships in the wake of this crisis – but it will only be won by a militant and disciplined labour movement.

Challenge News Desk

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