UKHospitality has today reacted to the latest employment figures, which convey quite how acutely hospitality has continued to be disproportionately hit by the Covid pandemic.
The Office of National Statistics data show that 4 in 5 of those people who have lost their jobs since the pandemic began are under the age of 35, and that between December and February the number of people in paid employment dropped again by 56,000. In the period between March 2020 and March 2021 the total number of paid employees fell by 813,000.
Hospitality businesses are the worst hit, with 355,000 fewer employees than a year before, accounting for 43% of the national total. Hospitality’s young workforce is also reflected in the figures, with 78% of those leaving payroll employment under the age of 35, and more than half who have lost jobs being under 25.
Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality said: “Today’s figures convey the current fragility of hospitality but also the sector’s importance to national economic recovery. Once again, the increase in unemployment, particularly among younger age groups, underlines the importance of the Government to stick to their commitment to drop Covid restrictions from 21st June, and for continued support for the sector.
“Hospitality business’ ability to reopen will remain massively hampered until the Government can deliver on its commitment to dropping legal requirement of Covid restrictions and measures on 21st June. Even then, with so many companies facing rent debts and business rates bills, after more than a year with little trading, many companies – and thousands more jobs – will be in jeopardy unless further support is forthcoming.
“Should the 21st June date lapse, employer furlough contributions could also tip businesses over the edge. Additional support for jobs, coupled with longer-term plans for training, are vital.”