Billy was stopped outside the Queensmere shopping centre in Slough over the weekend and for some unintelligible reason he could be seen to throw two small packets over a fence by the car-park just before it happened. The pair who stopped him were Brindi and Tom who were conducting one of the regular polls carried out on behalf of the Labour Force Survey, who ask thousands of people every month if they are unemployed and looking for work. We have no idea what Billy told them, but he is now officially registered as 'inactive' and has been invited to the leisure centre for a meal and a shower every Thursday evening.
The number of people claiming unemployment benefits surged to 2.7 million between March and July, and this is strange because it heralds some of the most positive employment figures on record. However, those joining Billy in the 'inactive' group rose by 301,000 in the three months to June and the latest figures show 7.5 million temporarily away from their jobs, on furlough awaiting the next steps once Rishi finally puts away his chequebook, exhausted.
Figures obtained from the Government show that companies notified the Insolvency Service of around 380,000 staff at risk of dismissal between May and July, according to the Institute for Employment Studies, most of these came in the latter two months, when dismissal notifications were running at five times the average rate seen between 2008 and 2020. However, actual job losses, which usually take place around two months after a notification, are likely to be higher because companies cutting fewer than 20 staff do not have to notify the Insolvency Service (they only have to write to their former colleagues' mums and dads, instead).
That maudlin bunch down at the research group IES reports that it expects 445,000 dismissals to take place between July and September and for this current heatwave to give way to a plague of locusts in Cornwall on Friday. Even if job losses then ease, following the pattern seen after the worst of the 2008-09 recession, there would still be a further 205,000 dismissals before the end of the year.
00 Sunak is hiding in a cupboard at the Treasury, because he knows what is coming next. There will be a siren call for prolonged furlough and free meals and no mortgage payments ever and twelve drummers drumming, not least because Michael Saunders, a member of the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee, said this month that many of those still furloughed were likely to be working in companies that were still not trading or faced much weaker activity, and that “a relatively high share may become unemployed”. Rishi was caught trying to snog Kier Starmer last evening in a vain attempt to be forced to self-isolate for 10 days (or is it seven? Or 14?) in a place where there is no phone signal (so, the North-West then).
Meanwhile, Billy is missing from the office today, not least because we are looking to officially register him as 'a lazy git'. He was last seen this morning clambering over a fence by the car-park outside the Queensmere shopping centre in Slough ...