clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Novel Coronavirus Pandemic Has Cost 300,000 Hospitality Jobs in Nine Months

It accounts for over a third of jobs lost in the U.K. between February and November

Masked staff behind a terrazzo countertop putting in an order on a till at Homeslice Ejatu Shaw/Eater London

Hospitality is the worst-hit sector in new unemployment figures

Over a third of jobs lost across the U.K. between February and November came in hospitality, according to new figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) reported by the BBC. Of the 819,000 fewer workers on company payrolls in November as compared to February, hospitality’s decline accounted for 297,000 of those job losses. ONS director of economic statistics Darren Morgan said, “It you look at the number of people losing their jobs, the number of people on furlough and the vacancies available for people looking for jobs in the hospitality sector, all that adds up to a very difficult time for that industry.”

The figures arrive just as London joins much of England in heading into tier three coronavirus restrictions under which hospitality venues must close. They underscore not the persistent narrative that the industry has been scapegoated, but rather the fact that government support — the furlough scheme, VAT cut, and business loans and grants — have not been enough to keep jobs while businesses have been forced to close, reopen, and close again. Delays to extending the furlough scheme and the short-lived plan for the Job Support Scheme left businesses forced to make cuts because there was no clarity on what was coming; caveated opening procedures based around “substantial meals” provided an illusion of freedom while in fact restricting trade, with no support to compensate for that restriction — because businesses could open. This is the result of chancellor Rishi Sunak and Boris Johnson trying to have restrictions both ways, and the industry forecasts many more jobs lost without definitive, proportionate financial support. [BBC]

And in other news...