London Lost Most Jobs in U.K. During the Pandemic, IFS Says
Pedestrians cross Tower Bridge in London, U.K. (Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg)

London Lost Most Jobs in U.K. During the Pandemic, IFS Says

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London lost the biggest number of jobs of any U.K. region during the coronavirus pandemic last year, according to an analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies think tank.

The change in the number of employees on payrolls in the capital dropped by about 5.5% from February to December last year, almost twice as many as in Scotland, which had the second-biggest drop. The services-dominated city also had one of the highest shares of jobs furloughed at the end of November, at more than 15% in some boroughs.

The findings will add to concerns about London’s future as the U.K.’s economic growth engine as the capital grapples with more potential job losses after Brexit.

London Lost Most Jobs in U.K. During the Pandemic, IFS Says

“The number of jobs lost has varied a lot, with London really standing out as having lost a lot of jobs,” Helen Miller, deputy IFS director said in a webinar ahead of Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak’s budget presentation on March 3.

“This has been a geographically unequal crisis but it’s also been unequal in terms of hitting people of different ages differently, those of different assets of education levels or health statuses.”

Miller said that there had not been a mass exit of businesses, largely due to government support. However, she noted a January survey by the Office for National Statistics, which showed about 15% of firms had no or low confidence they would survive the next three months.

“There will be a role for well targeted temporary stimulus at some point,” she said. “I wouldn’t expect targeted fiscal stimulus to be a big part of the budget, but the government should stand ready to act.”

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