Number of employers planning to cut staff is decreasing

More than 2m people claimed Jobseeker's Allowance in April, but unemployment could be lower than feared
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The proportion of businesses who believe they will have to cut staff permanently has reduced to 10% from a high of 30% at the start of lockdown, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The ONS’ fortnightly survey of companies found that – of the 30% who had reported they might need to shrink their workforce in early April – a fifth still felt their workforce would be lower, while 62% thought staff numbers would stay the same.

Twelve percent of those respondents who initially responded that they would make cuts to their workforce now believe they will hire more people in the coming months.

The findings of the ONS survey offer some positive news after warnings that job losses in 2020 could reach 2 million.

In April, more than 2 million people claimed unemployment benefits, with a 69% increase in claims for Jobseeker’s Allowance compared to the month before.

The ONS has polled more than 9,000 businesses fortnightly since the coronavirus took hold, and 3,521 have responded to each survey, allowing the office to track the impact on those businesses.

Of these 3,521 businesses, 72% continued to trade between 23 March and 17 May 2020. The remaining 28% reported they had temporarily closed or paused trading at some point in this period. In the latest survey, 37% of these businesses have restarted trading.

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