Buoyed by the vaccine rollout and a bounce back in consumer spending, the British economy is growing at its fastest pace in 80 years. With the winter lockdowns now firmly behind us, GDP jumped by 4.8% in April-June – signalling a potential recovery to pre-pandemic size by the end of this year.
After the economy shrank by a record 9.9% in 2020, the new positive outlook will instil businesses with much optimism for the latter half of 2021. The EY Item Club now expects GDP to grow by 7.6%.
In this week’s blog, we’re exploring the sector driving the nation’s success and how the economic upsurge is impacting employment.
An analysis by CGA’s UKHospitality Quarterly Tracker revealed that hospitality was responsible for 40% of the UK’s total economic growth. This is evidence that the reopening of venues upon the easement of lockdown has been the key to Britain’s recovery.
Hospitality was still heavily restricted during the months in question; therefore, the fact that the sector has performed as well as documented is a testament to its importance to the UK economy. These figures demonstrate the industry’s potential to power a wider recovery, now it has been fully unchained after almost 18 months.
The jobless rate has fallen by almost 0.2 percentage points to 4.7% – with another 182,000 jobs added to company payrolls. There are now more employees on payrolls than at any point since March 2020, while the number of people on furlough is the lowest since the scheme launched.
Job vacancies have also doubled since July 2020, reaching 1 million – the highest level on record. There was more good news for the British workforce, as wages jumped 7.4% without bonuses and 8.8% including bonuses. This reinforces the message from employers that where shortages exist, workers can expect to receive signing on fees and retention bonuses.
Footfall is returning to town and city centres as a result of the UK’s vibrant hospitality and leisure sector. While retail has traditionally been the source of traffic for the hospitality industry, in the post-COVID era, it’s likely that this will change – with hospitality being the saviour of town and city centre retail.
With a wealth of experience within the hospitality and retail sector, Targetfollow are pleased to see both successfully emerge from lockdown. The current figures are very promising and we look forward to seeing further economic growth in the months to come.