The pandemic has created as many opportunities as it has removed, and there will be no lasting damage – not even for the young.
At the outset of this crisis, there were widespread concerns that the UK residential market would suffer immediate price declines. We know thus far the very opposite has been recorded. This of course could change if the overall jobs market suffers a significant negative shock for a period beyond, say, a handful of quarters. So, what of the UK labour market fundamentally?
Let us begin with the public-service sectors, a great many of which have continued to work tirelessly, and in so doing have boosted incomes and staff numbers. One of course cannot consider public sector headcount and salaries without reflecting on our state finances and the much-discussed need to bring them back under control. Let me be clear: I see no chance of a return to austerity. True, financing the government’s response to coronavirus has involved a huge amount of capital, at a time when the lockdown has denied the exchequer considerable tax revenue. No less true is the fact that the UK government has been able to access credit extremely cheaply. Moreover, having gone to such fiscal trouble to protect the economy, the chancellor will not throw it all away on spending cuts and tax rises. After all, far from generating exchequer savings and revenues, Sunak is perfectly aware such actions would plunge the economy into certain and sustained recession.
What of the private side of the labour market? It is not only those in the public sector who have been extremely busy through our period of captivity – many in the private sector have been too. Consider those involved in all extensive aspects of e-commerce, e-finance, bioscience, accounting, academia, the delivery of protective and medical equipment, space reconfiguration etc. For all these and more, their skills and services have seldom been more in demand.