Recruitment falls to record low levels - with a grim forecast for parts of Lancashire

Recruitment activity in the North of England fell to record low levels during April, according to KPMG and REC’s latest UK Report on Jobs.

By David Nowell
Tuesday, 12th May 2020, 12:01 pm
Lytham Green. The Fylde will be badly affected, says a new report
Lytham Green. The Fylde will be badly affected, says a new report

And the report finds that the Fylde and Ribble Valley could be among the worst affected areas in the future.

The findings of the monthly survey pointed to an unprecedented reduction in hiring, as additional KPMG data forecasts that almost half of the 10 local authority regions to be most economically impacted by coronavirus will be in the North.

In terms of adjusted gross value added (GVA) forecasts for 2020, Barrow-in-Furness is likely to be the worst-affected area in the UK (-28.3 per cent adjustment) ahead of Fylde in third (22.9 per cent ).

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The Ribble Valley and Copeland are also included in the list of the 10 most-impacted areas.

Service-based city centre economies, which benefit from workers' ability to continue working remotely, are expected to weather social distancing rules relatively well.

However, areas that rely on transportation, transport manufacturing, construction and tourism will be among the most affected.

By contrast, Middlesbrough and North Tyneside are expected to be among the least economically impacted areas of the country. Both areas are likely to be insulated due to their high proportion of public sector and healthcare workers.

In the northern job market, both permanent placements and temporary billings fell at the quickest rate on record during April, as business closures and increased uncertainty meant that demand for workers evaporated.

Meanwhile, redundancies related to the coronavirus led to the fastest increase in candidate availability for over a decade. The plunge in demand for workers combined with rising staff supply led to sharp falls in starting salaries and temp wages.

The report, which is compiled by IHS Markit, is based on responses to questionnaires sent to around 100 recruitment and employment consultancies in the North of England.

Across the UK as a whole, permanent candidate availability rose for the first time in seven years, with each of the four monitored English regions posting sharp increases.

Warren Middleton, office senior partner for KPMG in Manchester, said: “As we increasingly come to realise, the world post COVID-19 will be different to the world before this crisis.

"Aside from those businesses experiencing exceptional demand, there has been precious little recruitment in the region during lockdown with many businesses forced to shut their doors temporarily.

"Coronavirus has impacted the private sector across the North and the majority of businesses are now focusing on how best to utilise their existing resources while government measures are eased. "