London hit hardest in England's pandemic job losses, according to ONS

·2 min read
General view of the Jobcentre Plus logo at its building, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Northwich, Britain, November 10, 2020. REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff
General view of the Jobcentre Plus logo at its building, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Northwich, Britain, November 10, 2020. REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff

London's Westminster was the region that suffered the biggest decrease in employees between September 2019 and September 2020, according to the ONS Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES) released on Tuesday. 

As the area experienced an estimated fall of 32,500 jobs, it was followed by Tower Hamlets, which lost 15,300 employees and Camden, which was down 14,000 workers year-on-year. 

Meanwhile the North East saw the largest percentage decrease in employees by region (down 30,300, or 2.8%), followed by the North West (down 91,500, or 2.7%).

The survey monitors the number of employees in the UK, full-time and part-time, by country and English region, including some local authority districts. 

Between 2019 and 2020 the employment market was heavily disrupted by COVID-19. The numbers do not tell the story of the workers who received furlough support, as multiple sectors across the UK were all but shut for the best part of a year. 

According to Statista, the day with the most jobs furloughed at once in the UK was 8 May, 2020, when 8.86 million jobs were on the job retention scheme. 

The ONS survey found that, of the 12 regions in the UK, 11 saw a decrease in employees between 2019 and 2020.

Overall, London saw the largest estimated regional decrease in the number employees (as opposed to the percentage of employees lost), down 130,600 (down 2.5% from 2019).

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Of all regions, only the East of England saw an increase in the number of employees (up 5,000, or 0.2%) with the health sector employee estimate increasing by 20,700 (6.2%), transport and storage by 18,100 (13.2%) and retail by 16,100 (6.3%). 

This offset decreases in the number of employees in professional, scientific and technical of 18,900 (7.1%), manufacturing of 18,500 (8.7%) and arts, entertainment, recreation and other services of 16,000 (12.9%).

Unsurprisingly, by industry between 2019 and 2020 in England, the largest decreases in employee estimates has been in the accommodation and food services sector (down 182,300, or 7.7%) and other services (down 128,400, or 9.3%).

Meanwhile, the estimated number of public sector employees between 2019 and 2020 increased by 114,600 (2.1%). In contrast, the estimated number of private sector employees between 2019 and 2020 decreased by 685,400 (2.7%).

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