Potential impact of COVID-19 on employment outlined in report

The potential scale of the impact of Covid-19 on employment in Norfolk and Suffolk has been outlined in a new report by New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership.

Unemployment has risen due to the pandemic, with Universal Credit claims rising sharply. But the full impact has been significantly mitigated by the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough), help for the self-employed and other measures.

The data, which was presented to New Anglia LEP’s Board on Tuesday 23 June, looks at anticipated redundancy levels as furlough and self-employed support schemes come to an end through autumn 2020 and into early 2021.

The LEP has been working with economic consultants Metro Dynamics to compile the information, which gives local partners a base on which to start planning the level of support which might be needed in the coming months.

The data looks at three scenarios and, in all three, the projections are stark.

  • Best case – a quick return to economic growth (a “v-shaped” recession).
  • Middle case – a slow return to economic growth (a “U-shaped” recession); and
  • Worst case – a lingering cloud over economic growth (a “L-shaped” recession).

Even the best case scenario shows unemployment has a potential peak at just over 50,000 jobs at the last quarter of 2020. It is considered the middle case scenario is most likely with an unemployment peak of just over 120,000.

Chris Starkie, Chief Executive of New Anglia LEP, said: “There is little doubt that significant numbers of redundancies will be announced over the coming months as businesses find their ‘new normal’ and national support schemes come to an end.

“The impact of the pandemic across our economy has been profound and many of our region’s key sectors – including tourism, culture and health and social care – will have been severely affected. People with the lowest incomes are likely to be most vulnerable to these job losses and our young people will also be hard hit. The Resolution Foundation estimates that those leaving education this year will be less likely than previous cohorts to have a job in three years’ time.

“We will work with our local partners to support businesses to restart and rebuild, help people to find the training and guidance they need and continue to support our further and higher education establishments.”

New Anglia LEP, working in partnership with the regions’ local authorities, further and higher education establishments and business support groups, has pledged to make a number of interventions, including:

  • For the LEP and partners to create a Norfolk and Suffolk redundancy support programme which builds on and brings together existing initiatives. Working with DWP, Jobcentre plus and professional services to ensure employers and employees are aware and have access to available support programmes at the earliest point.
  • Run a local campaign to encourage businesses to contact the LEP via the New Anglia Growth Hub if they are considering making redundancies.
  • New Anglia LEP has been advertising job vacancies throughout the pandemic on its website It plans to further develop the platform using existing networks to include a redundancy triage service to help connect people to new training and employment opportunities.
  • Work with our universities to put in place tailored support for students who are due to graduate this summer, to help increase their chances of securing employment or furthering their education.

Read the full Board report and data here

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