In May 2020, the Bank of England warned that the UK is heading towards its sharpest recession since 1706. The economy is expected to contract by 14%, the biggest annual decline since 1949.
After Boris Johnson contracted the virus, many voiced the attitude that “the virus does not discriminate”. However, its impact on the job market offers evidence to the contrary. There are a number of sectors which have been forced to shut down during lockdown. This has negatively, and disproportionately, affected a high percentage of women and young people. Additionally, a third of employees in the bottom 10% of earners work in these sectors. Furthermore, the number of job vacancies available has fallen dramatically. Between March and May this year, there were an estimated 342 000 fewer vacancies than in the previous quarter. I wonder how the struggles of those who are arguably already at a disadvantage will increase in the aftermath of the pandemic. Contrast this with the relative safety enjoyed by middle-aged and middle-class men. Does the virus really not discriminate?
There is immense uncertainty over what will happen following the winding down of the furlough scheme
Fortunately, current unemployment statistics are not as horrifying as they could have been without the government’s Job Retention Scheme. Economists estimate that, without the opportunity to ‘furlough’ employees, there might have been a 25% increase in unemployment between February and June. This does, however, beg the question: what will happen following the winding down of the scheme in October? Here, there is still a great deal of uncertainty.
In a society where productivity rules, the impact of COVID-19 on the future of our economy is nothing if not uncertain.
Globally, the United Kingdom’s prospects in particular aren’t looking good. The OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) predicts that we’ll take the biggest hit on our economy post-pandemic. As a stage three student myself, the impact of coronavirus on the jobs market in particular is of paramount concern. Unsurprisingly, the jobs market is predicted to be at a low unprecedented since the Great Depression. Even if you’re one of the lucky few who finds employment in this climate, earnings are set to be impacted for at least the next decade.
As a collective, we are dedicated to positive, lasting change
With the scene being well and truly set for a dystopian novel, and all the odds seemingly set against us, I for one remain optimistic. In a world which refuses to believe our potential, I believe that what defines this generation is our perseverance to making positive and lasting change. Recent demonstrations illustrate how dedicated we are as a global collective. We use technology to improve the world even when the odds are stacked against us, a trajectory that will no doubt triumph once again post-coronavirus. Our futures certainly won’t be what we expected them to be, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t bright.
Last modified: 24th June 2020