Questions and answers about coronavirus and the UK economy

Jobs, work, pay & benefits

How might coronavirus affect older workers?

Recent years have seen considerable efforts to encourage older people to stay in the labour market for longer. With the health risks from Covid-19 rising with age, the pandemic and the economic downturn may affect both their ability and desire to do so.

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How will coronavirus affect the lifetime earnings of new graduates?

Graduating into an economic downturn can have negative consequences for young people in terms of pay and career progression throughout their lives. In response to the Covid-19 recession, many from wealthier backgrounds may opt to stay in education longer, further exacerbating inequality.

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What will coronavirus mean for self-sufficiency in nurse numbers?

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted shortages in the number of workers needed for key roles in health and social care. With nursing being a major shortfall area, analysis of how effectively domestic training and international recruitment can plug the gap is crucial.

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What will be the effect of coronavirus on gig economy workers?

If demand for ‘gig economy’ work increases as companies try to save costs in the Covid-19 recession, that could allow more people to work flexibly. Alternatively, if more people enter the gig economy, perhaps because they can’t find other jobs, competition for limited ‘gigs’ could increase.

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What financial support is needed for artists and the arts in the pandemic?

Coronavirus has struck a particularly hard blow to the performing arts and those whose livelihoods depend on them. Having multiple sources of financial support available for the arts and artists increases the likelihood of meeting their many and varied needs.

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How do lockdowns affect economic activity in developing countries?

The severity of lockdown measures has been similar across the world. But differences between developing and advanced economies in their sectoral composition and the size of the informal economy mitigate the economic damage in poorer countries.

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How will coronavirus and the recession affect UK immigration?

Recessions have an impact on net migration flows, the labour market outcomes of migrants and the effects of migrants on native outcomes. Migrant workers face particular challenges in the Covid-19 crisis given the industries and occupations in which many of them are employed.

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The UK’s job furlough scheme is coming to an end: what happens next?

The UK government has announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will come to an end in October 2020. What has been its impact? How have similar schemes in other countries fared? Should it continue and what will happen when it finally ends?

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What do we know about the impact of coronavirus on the creative industries?

Given the wide variation in how the products of the creative industries are made and consumed, the effects of Covid-19 are very different. And given the diversity of ways of working across the industries, so too are the measures needed to counteract the damage.

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How will the pandemic and lockdown affect social mobility?

School closures are particularly damaging for children from already disadvantaged backgrounds; and the recession is likely to hurt young people starting out in the labour market. Widening educational and economic inequalities may increase the divide in life chances between rich and poor.

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What does coronavirus mean for the future of sport and fitness clubs?

With the closure of indoor sports facilities, many people have shifted to alternative forms of exercise. Even after re-opening, this is likely to affect gym owners and staff. Some previous gym users may also be getting less exercise, leading to concerns about rising obesity.

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How can we protect young people from being scarred by coronavirus?

Young people suffer negative consequences from recessions – and we expect their experience of the Covid-19 crisis to be no different. The government has a toolkit of policies to protect them from long-lasting ‘scarring’ effects: which measures are most likely to succeed?

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How has coronavirus affected pubs, cafes and restaurants?

The pubs, cafes and restaurants sector was effectively brought to a halt by lockdown. Even with re-opening, it will be slow to recover because of the challenges of imposing social distancing and because eating and drinking out are particularly hard hit by recessions.

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Which parts of the UK have been hit hardest by the Covid-19 crisis?

The immediate effects of coronavirus, lockdown and the ensuing economic crisis are very large: UK GDP fell by 19.1% in the three months to May. What do the data tell us about how this economic shock is playing out across the different areas of the UK?

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What future for apprenticeships after coronavirus?

The Covid-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic uncertainty are causing interruptions to apprenticeship training. This is putting the future of apprenticeships at risk just at the time when they will be most needed to protect employment and sustain the recovery.

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Rebuilding after the Second World War: what lessons for today?

How did the UK reduce its very high ratio of public debt to GDP after the Second World War while simultaneously expanding the welfare state? Low interest rates, low unemployment, rapid economic growth and tolerance for higher taxation all played a role.

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What has coronavirus taught us about working from home?

The pandemic has now forced millions of people to work from home, typically those with higher incomes and in higher-income economies. Surveys suggest that, to date, employers have been positively surprised by the efficacy of this new way of working.

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Why should the government provide income protection in a recession?

Unemployment insurance payments would be insufficient to offset the large income losses due to coronavirus and the ensuing recession. Governments are stepping in to provide much-needed income support to households that face significant declines in their monthly income.

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What are the prospects for young people joining the labour market now?

Evidence from previous economic downturns suggests that young people leaving full-time education in the Covid-19 recession are going to find it much harder to secure employment and even harder to enter well-paid occupations than their immediate predecessors.

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What are the effects of coronavirus on the UK and US labour markets?

Millions of jobs have already been lost in the Covid-19 recession. What do we know about the kinds of workers who have been most affected? And what will be the likely effects on economic inequalities and the future prospects of people whose employment and earnings have been hit?

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How is coronavirus affecting the self-employed?

The self-employed are being hit particularly hard by the Covid-19 crisis. Many have been offered a lifeline through the government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme – but does it go far enough?

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How is coronavirus affecting inequalities across ethnic groups?

There are growing concerns that the UK’s ethnic minorities are suffering disproportionately as a result of the pandemic – in terms of both their higher mortality risks and the worse economic outcomes for some groups.

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How will exam disruptions affect young people’s futures?

Coronavirus has led to high-stakes summer examinations being cancelled and the grades replaced by teacher predictions, or administered in a new online format. It is vital to understand the potential impact on the lives of young people affected by these disruptions.

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How can labour market policy help to get people back into the right jobs?

As the economy restarts after the coronavirus crisis, workers that became unemployed eventually find new jobs. But initially these are often not the ‘right’ jobs – they are not good matches between employees’ skills and employers’ needs. What can policy do to improve workforce reallocation?

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What will be the impact of Covid-19 on public attitudes to immigration?

The coronavirus pandemic is changing the UK immigration debate, with tensions between requirements for stricter controls and greater recognition of key workers, many of whom are migrants. How will the crisis affect public attitudes to immigration?

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How does the government’s furlough scheme work?

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was set up to encourage employers to keep their staff on during lockdown and make it easier for everyone to return to work when restrictions lift. How does the furlough scheme work and what will happen to jobs as it’s wound down?

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Who can work from home and how does it affect their productivity?

The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economy will depend on many factors, one of which is who can work from home and what impact that has on their productivity. Ability to work from home varies by occupation, income, age, gender, ethnicity and location.

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Funded by

UKRI Economic and Social Research Council
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