Covid-19: Industries Hit Hardest

Written by Zoe Cresswell

As the covid pandemic rumbles on, it’s undeniable that the lockdown has changed our lives in ways we couldn’t have imagined. Certain industries have been hit harder than others, with many unemployed workers struggling to make ends meet. So, as the global economy starts moving again and people return to work, what do we know about what’s changed in the UK job market during the national lockdown?  

Travel Industry 

The travel industry was one of the first to be hit by Covid-19, with airlines and hotel chains seeing a sharp decline in bookings. The national lockdown led to the introduction of travel restrictions, which meant that people couldn’t leave or enter the UK from other countries. This led to enormous losses for those working within the travel industry. 

Hospitality and Leisure 

Mandatory closures and social distancing meant that the hospitality and leisure industry was hit particularly badly by the global pandemic. Businesses including hotels, pubs, and sports venues saw their doors closed for months and then worked on reopening at a reduced capacity. Some social distancing measures are still in operation today at venues around the country.  


As all non-essential shops were closed from the start of lockdown, it’s little surprise to see the retail industry hit so hard. Job vacancies reportedly dropped by 80% in April 2020. On top of that, major chains such as Debenhams, Laura Ashley, and Cath Kidston have all gone into administration since the start of lockdown. 


The manufacturing industry in the UK has seen its worst slump in nearly 30 years during the pandemic. Areas such as new orders, employment, and overall output have all rapidly declined due to covid-19. Figures showed that jobs in the industry were down 58% since the start of the lockdown. Again, lockdown restrictions meant that places like factories and some warehouses weren’t able to open. 


At the height of lockdown, it seemed like nearly the entire country had come to a standstill. And, with a decrease in transportation and trade across the globe, the demand for energy went down. As well as a decrease in demand for energy, jobs in the UK also declined significantly. Some figures suggest there are 73% fewer advertised vacancies in this industry. As economies begin to recover from the pandemic, countries across the northern hemisphere, which experienced a long, cold winter in 2021 with depleted gas storage levels, have been left scrambling to secure supplies. 


Whilst many industries were hit hard in terms of income and activity levels, the healthcare industry faced a completely different set of challenges. With patients in British hospitals reaching record highs, the NHS and other healthcare services proved just how vital they are. The surge in patients combined with the long-documented staff shortages meant hospitals were pushed to their breaking point. An already stretched workforce was forced to stretch further as staff were left unable to work due to isolation and shielding practices.  

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