Wales faces unemployment crisis with one in five jobs in ‘shutdown sectors’

By David Hagendyk, Director for Wales.


16 07 2020


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As we move towards the next stage of the crisis, the government should rightly focus on tackling unemployment. However, the issue of good work – that was not long ago at the top of policy makers agenda – must not lose prominence.

New analysis shows Wales faces a post-pandemic jobs crisis with unemployment set to exceed the level seen during the last recession, and a particularly severe impact on young people.

The analysis, conducted by Learning and Work Institute, finds that 250,000 jobs in Wales are in ‘shutdown sectors’. These are the industries which have been most impacted by the measures to slow the spread of the virus, and where most businesses have been forced to reduce trading or close altogether. Nearly one in five jobs (18%) in Wales are in shutdown sectors.

If just one in four of these workers lost their jobs, unemployment could exceed the level seen at the last recession.

The analysis also reveals that young people, women and those with the lowest qualification levels are more likely to face losing their jobs as a result of the crisis.  It shows:

  • Two in three of those aged between 16 and 19 (61%) and one in three (33%) of those aged 20 and 24 are at risk, higher than other age groups;
  • 22% of women are working in shut down sectors, compared to just 15% of men;
  • One in four of those with qualifications below level 3 are working in sectors of the economy that have been shut down, compared to one in ten of those with level 4 qualifications.
David Hagendyk, Director of Learning and Work Institute Cymru
“The coronavirus crisis is first and foremost a public health emergency, but it will also have a severe economic impact. “Wales will be more exposed than many other parts of the UK to the economic impact of the crisis and without strong action existing inequalities could widen further. “The action taken by governments and local authorities to support business and individuals will mean the immediate impact will be less than it might have been but there is a real risk that specific groups of people, in particular young people, women, and those with the fewest qualifications, will bear the brunt of the crisis. “It is crucial that governments at all levels work together to deliver a step change in investment in employment support and ensure that specific groups, in particular those already disadvantaged in the labour market, receive the help that they need.”

Read the full report

Understanding the potential impact of Coronavirus in Wales

Find out how we plan to help Britain back to work

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