Commenting on the ONS labour market statistics for February 2021, published today, BCC Head of Economics Suren Thiru said:
“While the furlough scheme is limiting job losses, the rise in unemployment and decline in employment levels are further evidence that coronavirus continues to weaken the UK labour market.
“With firms facing a renewed cash crisis amid the current lockdown and the prospect of several more months of diminished demand and revenue before many can fully reopen, substantial job losses may be inevitable if the support schemes wind down as planned.
“Although the government’s roadmap provides a way forward, the lack of clarity over the future path of fiscal support has left a damaging cliff edge for jobs and livelihoods.
“It is vital that the government support schemes, including furlough and business rates relief, are extended through the summer and wherever possible throughout 2021 to help protect jobs and power the recovery.”