PwC comments on the latest labour market data

Jing Teow, senior economist at PwC, comments on today's labour market data:

"The latest data shows that the UK labour market remained resilient in the three months to March, with record numbers of people in employment, driven by older workers and more women in full-time work. In addition, while the unemployment rate has seen a slight uptick, it is still low by historical standards.

"However, social distancing measures implemented in late March to stop the spread of COVID-19 had already begun to exert a drag on labour markets. Job vacancies saw the largest quarterly fall on record in the three months to April.

"The data also shows that while the employment rate is at a record high, average actual hours worked fell in March, especially in the last two weeks when lockdown measures were in place. This suggests that employers took early steps by reducing staff hours to cut wage costs without making workers redundant. This trend is likely to continue in the second quarter given the high level of take-up by businesses of the Coronavirus Job retention Scheme (JRS). 

"Recent business surveys on the fall in business sales and investment in Q2 suggests that a rise in unemployment is probably inevitable. However, the more that businesses are able to maintain links with their employees, the faster labour markets will be able to bounce back from the crisis, thus preventing more serious scarring effects and a bigger rise in both short- and long-term unemployment."

About PwC

At PwC, our purpose is to build trust in society and solve important problems. We’re a network of firms in 157 countries with over 250,000 people who are committed to delivering quality in assurance, advisory and tax services. Find out more and tell us what matters to you by visiting us at

PwC refers to the PwC network and/or one or more of its member firms, each of which is a separate legal entity. Please see for further details.

© 2020 PwC. All rights reserved.

Contact us

Rebecca Lloyd

Manager, Corporate Affairs, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7483 329628

Follow us