• Conor Craig

Who thrives and dives in the lockdown labour market?



The global economy experienced major economic contractions when individual country’s lockdowns were at their peak, with the UK producing their largest monthly shrinkage on record of 20.4%.


This highlighted how the Coronavirus pandemic has vastly disrupted the global labour market. Some businesses have adapted, ensuring smooth transitions for their employees to make the best out of working from home, thus thriving in these unprecedented times. However, the majority are not all winners.


Coronavirus has created challenges for labour forces. Europe’s labour market was enjoying a 7-year-long recovery, which has now been abruptly curtailed.


However, 40 million European workers have been enrolled on state furlough schemes which greatly decreased unemployment levels. Andrew Kenningham, an economist at Capital Economics commented that “The remarkably small increase in unemployment in the eurozone reflects the success of the government job subsidy schemes.”


Supermarkets have been big winners for the labour market


In early lockdown the public started panic-buying meaning supermarkets were overwhelmed. In the last 10 ten days of March Tesco hired 35,000 employees, whilst registering all employees with underlying health problems onto the government's furlough scheme. Even the unsuccessful applicants received useful job application experience with Tesco Chief executive Dave Lewis boasting, "The response to our call for new recruits has been incredible, with over one million visitors to our careers website.”

Gaining or maintaining a job during tough financial times is essential to a lot of people. Many people need the stability of being in work which provides workforces with a much needed routine. Those currently not working, on furlough schemes, say they most miss workplace camaraderie and the structure it gives to their lives.

British Airways struggle to satisfy their labour force


According to research from S&P Global, the airline industry has been worst affected. Firms such as British Airways (BA) grounded all flights apart from essential repatriation flights. BA have been under heavy scrutiny for their treatment of staff and plan to hand redundancy notices to 40,000 staff. They were accused of utilising a “fire and rehire” approach. This has reached national importance with some MP’s going as far to say BA’s treatment of staff “is a national disgrace."


This has created a union war because even if BA plan to rehire staff at a later stage, there is a high risk their jobs may never come back at the same level, according to new statistics from HM Revenue and Customs. This was despite receiving £35 million from the government for furloughing as of 14th May.

Job losses can bring many negatives, especially when they are sudden or unexpected and can be emotionally harmful or create feelings of disappointment, failure or hopelessness. This will be compounded if finding another job proves to be difficult, which is likely to be the case with a predicted recession all across the western world.


Overall, the coronavirus has provided the labour force with a time to reflect on their strengths or weaknesses. Many have been spurred to ask how safe is my job? Or, do I rely solely on one source of income? Searching questions.

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