The economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has thrown the UK into one of the worst recessions in history. As the government reviews the next steps to be taken to ensure recovery to pre-Covid-19 levels, experts highlight the need to support the poor and make more public sector investments. Macroeconomic influencers share their views on the Covid -19 impact.
Rob Gill, managing director at Altura Mortgage Finance, shared an article on how there is no trade-off between people’s lives and economic growth. The contraction in UK GDP has left experts questioning if the strict and long lockdowns in the country were necessary.
The article notes that a short-term trade-off between human lives and economic growth does not exist. However, the poor handling of the lockdown measures in the UK has badly affected the country’s economic performance.
Three policies have been recommended in the article including the extension of universal credit to support the unemployed, provide retraining grants of funds to start a new business and create more public-sector jobs.
"As I argued at the beginning of the lockdown, there is no short-term trade-off between lives and economic growth here. Today’s figures reinforce this argument – it is clear the UK has done badly both in human and economic terms."https://t.co/BJD2Vt8ANB
— Jonathan Portes (@jdportes) August 12, 2020
Trinh, senior economist for emerging Asia, tweeted on how lockdowns are not a sustainable strategy. She shared statistics comparing the impact of lockdowns on Sweden and the UK. Sweden did not have any lockdowns but had control measures to handle the pandemic. Though the country’s economy was not impacted as much as the UK, it has one of the highest death rates related to Covid-19.
The UK comparatively had one of the toughest lockdowns and a similar death rate, while the economic impact was devastating. Trinh noted that lockdown measures are not sustainable particularly in emerging economies as they severely impact the poor.
Let's compare Sweden & the United Kingdom: The UK had severe lock-down & Sweden didn't.
Here is GDP 🇸🇪🇬🇧 pic.twitter.com/IsNcnhENMs
— Trinh (@Trinhnomics) August 13, 2020
Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy and chief economist at AMP Capital, tweeted on the decline in the initial unemployment benefit claims since January. Further, the unemployment benefit claims have continued to decline over the previous week.
Oliver noted that the continuing decline indicates that the US labour market is starting to recover.
US initial jobless claims (chart is since Jan) and continuing jobless claims down again over the last week….suggesting the US labour mkt is continuing to recover.
(EvercoreISI charts) pic.twitter.com/SAmdwIC1QG
— Shane Oliver (@ShaneOliverAMP) August 13, 2020
Howard Archer, chief economic advisor to EY ITEM Club, shared an article on the increase in demand for workers in the first week of August. More than 126,000 new job adverts were released during the period, which is the highest since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Demand for workers was prominent for skilled and low skill jobs in construction, and debt collection, according to the Recruitment & Employment Confederation. Despite the positive news, official statistics indicate the largest decline in employment in the last ten years.
Jobs opportunities were low compared to 2019 figures particularly for hairdressers, postal workers, and restaurant managers, among others, the article noted.
— Howard Archer (@HowardArcherUK) August 13, 2020
Armine Yalnizyan, an economist, shared an article on how Canada’s labour market has experienced fundamental shifts due to the pandemic. The article provides recommendations for accommodating the changes particularly the needs to women to transform the work culture in the country.
The article recommends the need to identify the diverse requirements of women, while providing a flexible working environment. Employers should also provide all the tools and equipment necessary to work remotely as every employee may not have access to a computer or internet connection.
Further, training and guidelines should be developed to work remotely apart from providing funding for equipment and tools, childcare and other allowances.
The labour market in Canada has experienced a significant shift due to #COVID19
Read our recommendations for the Canadian labour market to accommodate and centre women’s needs as we reshape conventional work culture. https://t.co/NeaNMAWNIu#CdnPoli #FeministRecovery pic.twitter.com/OosFReONRd
— YWCA Canada (@YWCA_Canada) August 13, 2020