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British Staff Have Begun to Return to Work: German GDP Surprise

The latest set of figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) reveal that about 7% of the country’s furloughed workers returned to their jobs in the first fortnight in July. However, it is feared that many others will lose their employment before 2020 ends.

The ONS Figures

This report covers the period at the start of July, when the likes of restaurants, bars and pubs across the UK opened up again as the lockdown restrictions eased. The exact dates they looked at were between 29 June and 12 July.

In the hotel and food service industries, around 18% of the furloughed workers were brought back in this period. This meant that the total percentage of people working in hotels, restaurants and entertainment venues was about half of the usual amount.

The area with most people still away from their work was the arts, entertainment and recreation industry. In this case, 47% of them are still on furlough. In terms of food services and accommodation, the total currently sits at 43%.

The Risk of Job Losses

At the time of these figures being gathered, close to 20% of the country’s workers remained on furlough, with the government paying 80% of their salaries. The scheme is due to end in October, and the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) thinks that 1.2 million jobs could be lost.

Government ministers have confirmed that furloughed workers who are made unemployed will be guaranteed to receive redundancy pay that is calculated on their regular wages rather than on the figure they received under the scheme.

With many companies struggling to get through this crisis, interest in using the debt collection process to recover money has grown. It is expected that the numbers continue to slowly improve, though, as retail sales were up almost 14% in June and other sectors have started back more recently.

The Situation in Europe

The European Commission has confirmed that unemployment figures and business confidence have risen, but that consumers are now less positive about the future. Their economic sentiment index went up to 82.3 points in July, from the 75.8 recorded in June.

In terms of industry, the number was -16.2, which was an improvement on June’s -21.6. As for the service sector, the -35.5 in June rose to -26.1 the following month. However, consumer confidence dropped from -14.7 to -15.0.

Another set of figures from the EU show that unemployment in the Eurozone climbed to 7.8% in June, which followed on from 7.7% in May. This was based on 203,000 people losing their jobs in the month, bringing up a new jobless total of 12.68 million.

Germany became the first of the planet’s major economies to report their second quarter GDP. A flash estimate showed an annualised drop of 34.1%, which would be the country’s worst-ever economic hit since they started recording this data in 1947.

This wiped out Germany’s last decade of economic growth, but analysts there believe that this data is now out-dated, and that the country has already begun on the road to recovery.