• Brits are working again, as new data shows the number of employees has returned to pre-pandemic levels
  • But the travel industry is bracing for a wave of redundancies once furlough support ends
  • JD Sports’ US expansion has paid off, as demand for sports fashion booms

UK labour market regains pre-pandemic strength

The UK jobs market is booming, but will the impending end to furlough temper its expansion?

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics showed another 241,000 employees were added to UK payrolls in August, taking the total number of people in work to 29.1m – a level last recorded in February 2020. Meanwhile the number of job vacancies during the three months to August reached 1.03m, breaching the 1m mark for the first time and around a quarter of a million higher than the number of vacancies between January and March 2020.

For those who have been holidaying in the UK over the summer and noticed the number of job ads in restaurant windows, it will come as little surprise that the sector which saw the biggest rise in vacancies was accommodation and food service. Vacancies here rose by 75 per cent, although the increase may drop as seasonal factors fall away. 

Those in work are still enjoying strong pay growth. Average pay was up 8.3 per cent in May to July, although the market is being distorted by a decline in low-paying jobs and sharp wage inflation in sectors where there are severe shortages of workers, such as haulage.

But the big question remains: what effect will the ending of furlough support later this month have on the jobs market? The ONS reported that more than 1m people were still being supported by the furlough scheme at the end of August. GD

Read more: 

Is there a national labour shortage?

What does the lorry driver shortage mean for supermarket earnings?

Save travel industry by ending harsh rules, says ABTA

When the government does withdraw coronavirus job support, travel companies are likely to be hit harder than most. The UK’s leading travel agency body warned today that the industry faces a wave of redundancies when the furlough scheme ends later this month.

The Association of British Travel Agents argued the government should kill its current traffic light system, maintaining only a red list for the highest risk destinations. It also called for the end of expensive PCR testing for vaccinated travellers returning from “lower-risk countries”. New foreign holiday bookings this summer were down 83 per cent on 2019, ABTA said, while 58 per cent of holidays booked for July and August had to be postponed or cancelled. 

The government is reportedly considering changing testing requirements, and the traffic light system could end within weeks. But the industry is demanding action soon. On Monday, Heathrow Airport said that its August traffic figures were down 71 per cent compared to 2019, adding it had gone from being Europe’s busiest airport to only the 10th busiest. AH 

Further reading: 

EasyJet

Job vacancies in Britain climbed to a record in August, rising above 1 million for the first time, as the labor market continued its uneven recovery, according to data released Tuesday by the Office for National Statistics.

As Britain emerged from lockdowns the demand for workers has soared. Every sector is seeking more workers, with restaurants, bars, hotels and other accommodation and food businesses trying to hire the most over the summer.

It has helped push the unemployment rate down, to 4.6 percent, and has shrunk the number of people who are out of the work force.

Nearly a quarter of a million people were added to company payrolls in August, returning this part of the labor market (which doesn’t include the self-employed) to its prepandemic size, the statistics office said. But not every region had fully recovered. The number of employees was still down in London, in southeast England and in Scotland. And some of the workers on payroll were still receiving wage subsidies from the government’s furlough program.

The soaring vacancy rate has highlighted mismatches in the labor market. Even as people return to work, lots of businesses report they are struggling to hire. The staff they are looking for have either moved into different industries or left the country. And job seekers don’t have the right training or experience. Growth in the manufacturing sector has been hampered by the challenge of filling open positions. And businesses across Britain are running low on supplies because there are too few truck drivers.

Analysts predict that some of the gains in the labor market will be reversed when the furlough program ends this month, and employers can no longer rely on the government to top up staff wages up to 80 percent for the hours they don’t work. At the end of July, there were 484,000 employers with 1.6 million workers still on furlough. Layoffs are expected; a group representing the travel sector said more than two-thirds of businesses with staff on furlough expect to cut jobs when the program ends.

“With the furlough scheme ending in little over two weeks’ time, we should expect a fresh rise in unemployment this autumn, particularly among furloughed staff that aren’t able to return to their previous jobs,” Nye Cominetti, an economist at the Resolution Foundation, a think tank studying living standards, wrote in a note.

Samuel Tombs, an economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said the end of the furlough program would increase unemployment and underemployment, as people can’t find as much work as they would like, despite the high number of vacancies.

“About 60 percent of staff on furlough are attached to small businesses employing fewer than 20 people, who are unlikely to have the financial strength to re-employ them for all their pre-Covid hours,” he wrote in a note to clients. Businesses with high vacancies are different from the ones using the furlough program, so people will need to retrain before they return to employment, he added, predicting that the unemployment

People enjoy themselves at Magaluf beach in Mallorca as British tourists are expected to resume travels to the area starting from June 30th, Spain, June 29, 2021. REUTERS/Enrique Calvo/File Photo

LONDON, Sept 14 (Reuters) – Britain’s travel sector is bracing for a new wave of job cuts, with an industry trade body saying that more than two thirds of its members were planning to make redundancies shortly due to the government’s restrictive holiday rules.

Airlines and travel companies have slammed Britain’s travel rules as overly expensive and complicated, and blame them for a second lost summer of holiday trade in 2021.

Travel industry body ABTA, which represents 4,300 travel brands, said that new bookings were 83% lower in summer 2021 compared to their pre-pandemic levels, and as a result most of its members were planning more job cuts at the end of this month when a furlough scheme ends.

“The government’s travel requirements have choked off this summer’s travel trade – putting jobs, businesses and the UK’s connectivity at risk,” ABTA Chief Executive Mark Tanzer said in a statement.

Estimated new redundancies will bring the total number of jobs lost during COVID-19 to nearly 100,000 in the outbound travel sector, said ABTA, a figure which rises to 226,000 once the impact on the supply chain is included.

ABTA echoed calls from airlines and airports for the government to scrap the requirement for fully vaccinated travellers returning to the UK to take expensive PCR tests. read more

It also said that the government should provide tailored financial support to the travel industry which continues to suffer financial hardship while the domestic economy has been able to recover.

Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Kate Holton

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

(CNN) — Despite his surname, Felix Rome never wanted to settle in an urban area. The Salisbury, England native trained as a photographer and eventually landed his dream job — staff shutterbug for a group of safari camps in East Africa.

Although Rome was hired to travel between Governor’s Camp‘s properties, the coronavirus pandemic had other ideas, forcing him to stay put in Kenya.

Though one of his job responsibilities was to join resort guests on their excursions to help document their experiences, Rome found himself essentially alone in the country. And that provided a different sort of opportunity — taking intimate photos of wild animals who suddenly didn’t have tourists around staring at them.

Rome arrived in Kenya in March and planned to be in the Masai Mara National Reserve for three months before moving on to the next property. But as travel in Kenya and throughout Africa became increasingly difficult amid the ongoing pandemic, he found himself staying put.

The entire country is currently under a curfew between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m.. Masks are required in public and large gatherings are off-limits until further notice. International flights were allowed to resume beginning in June.

Like housecats, lions spend a lot of their time sleeping -- which means patience is key if you want an action shot.

Like housecats, lions spend a lot of their time sleeping — which means patience is key if you want an action shot.

Felix Rome

The pandemic regulations dropped tourism at the Mara, normally one of the world’s big bucket list destinations, down to nearly nothing.

“Lack of tourists has been a big factor. I was driving around, I think it was about five weeks, where I didn’t see a single other car,” Rome says.

But that allowed him the freedom to dig in deep and not obsess over the quantity of photos he was getting every day.

For a traveler on a once-in-a-lifetime trip, this is a big concern. The more photos you take in a short amount of time, the more likely you are to end up with some great ones in the mix. But Rome’s unique position has given him the ability to simply hang out and wait for the perfect shot.

Rome explains: “I’ll often wake up at about 5:30 a.m., then go out by 6:00 just before sunrise and then stay out until 9:00, 10:00 sometimes. Come back, have breakfast. Then I’ll edit the pictures, do little write-ups as well of what’s been going on.”

In addition to taking pictures, Rome maintains a YouTube channel about his experiences and will also share stories on his own and Governors’ social media accounts. His photos are used in ads for the hospitality group, and he’s allowed to sell prints of them through his website and retains final ownership.

Rome has the ability to spend eight or nine hours a day alone in the bush — no TV, no internet, no air-conditioning, nothing but him and a camera. But it’s not only about waiting patiently for a beautiful picture. He has also gotten the increasingly rare opportunity to just be

Two-thirds of travel sector employers with staff still on the furlough scheme are planning redundancies once the wage support is removed at the end of the month, the travel association ABTA has warned.

The body said a survey of its membership showed that 69% of employers planned to let staff go after 30 September.

It blamed “overly-cautious” coronavirus restrictions on travel in the UK, saying they had hammered demand during the peak summer season and inflicted huge damage on the industry’s chances of recovery as a result.

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Travel boss welcomes prospect of UK restrictions easing

ABTA said that it expected almost 100,000 people in the sector, including airlines, to have either lost their jobs or walked away during the COVID pandemic once the Job Retention Scheme was closed.

The figure rose to 226,000 when the employment impact on the supply chain was factored in, its report said.

It warned that 43% of travel agent and tour operator workers, tens of thousands of people, were currently still on furlough though the report could not put a number on the roles set to be lost.

ABTA spoke out as ministers prepare to review the restrictions covering international travel by 1 October – with discussions set to intensify this week as the PM outlines later on Tuesday his plan to deal with coronavirus over the coming months.

ABTA is demanding the traffic light system for destinations is scrapped, along with the widespread use of PCR testing.

It accused the government of wasting the success of the vaccine rollout to date and said it should be up to individuals to determine their own risk status.

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Javid wants to scrap PCR tests for travellers

The body complained that shifting restrictions and confusion meant that 58% of bookings, with departure dates in July or August this year, had to be postponed or cancelled.

It concluded that too much damage had been done to demand for the government to end financial support now, with a letter to Boris Johnson and chancellor Rishi Sunak urging “a package of tailored financial support – extending the furlough scheme for travel businesses and a dedicated grant fund”.

ABTA chief executive, Mark Tanzer, said: “The government’s travel requirements have choked off this summer’s travel trade – putting jobs, businesses and the UK’s connectivity at risk.

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Heathrow boss urges change to travel rules

“While our European neighbours have been travelling freely and safely, the British were subject to expensive measures which have stood in the way of people visiting family and friends, taking that much-needed foreign holiday and making important business connections.

“The government needs to wake up to the damage its policies are doing to the UK travel industry and the impact they will have on the wider economic recovery.

“It is the fares from leisure passengers that keep our planes flying

No one has a crystal ball, but we are in a time of great change, and we want our skills to be relevant and needed moving forward. And just as important, we want our kids and grandkids to have happy and fulfilling jobs.  Which brings us to an important question: What jobs are likely to disappear or become obsolete over the next decade or so?

Jobs That Disappeared

If you were a carriage maker in the 1900s, it would be a hard conversation to have with your kids who came home to tell you about this new machine that was invented, the automobile.  You may have said, “It’s a fad. It’s noisy, it breaks down, it goes slow, it gets stuck in the mud and manure, it’s expensive … it will never replace the horse and buggy.”

Can you imagine when people first saw the airplane?  It may have been impossible to think that it would change the way people moved across the ocean.

Or, remember when you saw the first cordless phone, and it looked like a shoe box?  Did you ever think that your trusted home phone could be replaced by a cellphone?

You get the point.  What I want to highlight is that all of these new ways of doing things greatly impacted the jobs and people who worked in these soon-to-be obsolete industries.  Think of all of the farriers (horseshoers) who lost their jobs as the car took over the world of local transportation. Think of the cruise ship owners and workers who were replaced by the advent of air travel.  And we know how the world of the internet exploded the world of personal and business communication. If you are not knowledgeable about computer technology, you may not have a seat at the new worktable.

What Industries Will Become Obsolete in the Future?

I want to put a disclaimer on this list. No one knows for sure which professions will or will not exist or how they will morph into new incantations of themselves.  Here are some that I have been thinking about:

  • Real Estate Agent: The old days of having a person pick out a home for you to tour are swiftly slipping away.  There are so many sites to help you choose the location, school system, amenities, etc. of a new home, that real estate agents are starting to disappear.  As the final stages of where you want to live come closer, you may want the help of a real person, but the fees they charge are coming under pressure as their value diminishes. 
  • Truck/Taxi Driver: Driverless technology is advancing quickly. It’s estimated that roughly 33 million autonomous vehicles will be on the road by 2040.
  • Doctor: This is controversial, because so many people want to be taken care of by a live person.  The pandemic ushered in the transition to telehealth.  I believe that we are about to witness another revolution.  No one doctor has all of the knowledge to diagnose

After nearly eight years of a strained and periodically hostile relationship between the mayor of New York City and its business community, the city’s likely next mayor on Monday delivered a clear message: He wants a reset.

“New York will no longer be anti-business,” declared Eric Adams, the Democratic mayoral nominee who is almost certain to win November’s election, in a speech at a business conference in Manhattan. “This is going to be a place where we welcome business and not turn into the dysfunctional city that we have been for so many years.”

In many ways, Mr. Adams and Mayor Bill de Blasio have found political common ground, and Mr. de Blasio was thought to favor Mr. Adams during this year’s primary. But Mr. Adams’s brief remarks on Monday underscored what may be one of the most consequential differences between the de Blasio administration and an Adams mayoralty: a significant shift, in tone and approach, when it comes to dealing with the city’s big-business community.

Mr. de Blasio has, at times, fostered close ties to the real estate community, but he based his campaign on addressing the city’s widening inequity, saying that New York had become a “tale of two cities.” He has also downplayed the need to bring back wealthy New Yorkers who fled during the pandemic.

Mr. Adams also ran on a message of combating inequality and was embraced by key labor unions. But his main focus was on combating crime, which also happened to be a primary concern of the city’s business elite. And he took a far warmer approach to engaging the business community, becoming a favorite of New York’s donor class, with whom he has spent much of the summer, while earning skepticism from the left. Publicly and privately, he has pledged to travel to Florida to bring erstwhile New Yorkers home.

His remarks on Monday, focused on fostering deeper partnerships between New York City and the business community, came at the SALT Conference, held at the Javits Center and overseen by Anthony Scaramucci, the onetime Trump White House communications director. The schedule promised appearances from two hedge fund billionaires who were principal backers of a super PAC supporting Mr. Adams’s candidacy: Daniel S. Loeb, a prominent charter school supporter, and Steven A. Cohen, the owner of the Mets.

Mr. Scaramucci, a Wall Street veteran, donated $2,000 to Mr. Adams’s mayoral campaign. Over the weekend, former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who got on poorly with Mr. de Blasio, released a direct-to-camera video noting his support of Mr. Adams, who is facing off against Curtis Sliwa, the Republican candidate, in the general election.

“As a candidate, Eric Adams has shown ambition and political courage,” Mr. Bloomberg said in the video.

In his speech, Mr. Adams, the Brooklyn borough president, urged employers to collaborate with the city on a common job application, part of a suite of proposals aimed at boosting the city’s economy and combating unemployment and underemployment.

“I’m proposing an unprecedented partnership between city

The Biden administration is making $482 million available to aviation industry manufacturers to help them avert job or pay cuts in the pandemic.

The Biden administration is making $482 million available to aviation industry manufacturers to help them avert job or pay cuts in the pandemic.

The taxpayer-funded relief will cover up to half of the payroll costs at 313 companies, according to the Transportation Department, which said Thursday will help save up to 22,500 jobs.

Air travel plummeted due to the spread of COVID-19. The delta variant has led to elevated cancellations and diminished travel in recent months. More than 100,000 aerospace jobs have been lost in an industry that had employed about 2.2 million people, according to the Transportation Department.

The largest recipient the fund funds announced Monday is Spirit Aerosystems, a Boeing supplier based in Kansas, which stands to get $75.5 million that the government says will help protect 3,214 jobs. Parker-Hannifin Corp. of Ohio, which makes hydraulic systems for planes, will get $39.7 million. The avionics unit of Japan’s Panasonic, based in California, will get $25.8 million, and several U.S. subsidiaries of France’s Safran S.A. will get a total of $24.8 million.

Money for the aerospace companies is coming from a $1.9 trillion package approved by Congress and signed by President Joe Biden in March.

The relief is similar to a much larger aid program for U.S. airlines, which have received $54 billion in the past year and a half. The airlines also agreed not to furlough any workers, but they eliminated tens of thousands of jobs anyway by offering incentives for employees to quit or retire early.

Critics labeled the airline aid a bailout that amounted to several hundred thousand dollars for each job that was spared — 75,000 jobs, by some estimates. Defenders such as American Airlines CEO Doug Parker say that without the government’s help, airlines would have been forced to shut down when traffic fell to levels not seen since the 1950s.

The Federal Aviation Administration, part of the Transportation Department, recently awarded $100 million to aerospace companies including Boeing, General Electric’s aviation division and jet engine maker Pratt & Whitney to make planes less polluting and quieter.

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For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO and CDC websites.

Business travel is in many ways the lifeblood of the travel industry. Even if you only travel for leisure, the highly profitable business traveler affects every seat in the plane and every room in the hotel. But that traveler is dialing back, perhaps permanently. Now what?

Scott Hornick, partner, Oliver Wyman

Oliver Wyman

“Something in the range of a 10% to 25% reduction in business travel long term,” according to Scot Hornick, a partner at consultancy Oliver Wyman’s, which conducts a Traveler Sentiment Survey of 2,500 business travelers. The trends identified help the firm inform its clients in the travel sector and supporting industries.

But business travel is far from monolithic, and Hornick points out stronger travel resumption plans among infrequent business travelers who have little travel to cut back on as well as “muddy boots” travelers, who ply skilled trades at work sites and don’t have the option to “zoom it in.” 

Even for those who can work remotely, the pandemic gave pause to some business travel habits that now seem extravagant at best and absurd at worst. “No longer would you see the investment banker flying across the Atlantic for a breakfast meeting at Heathrow and then flying right back,” says Hornick. 

All of which could leave some very pricey seats and rooms yawning for occupants. “We’re going to see travel companies take higher-end travel products and try to capture more leisure travelers with them,” says Hornick. “You may not have the same number of business class passengers as before, so how can you induce leisure class travelers to buy up to that product?”

united-polaris-seats-1

Tired of walking past Business Class seats to get to you crummy coach seat for a vacation flight? Airlines may soon have some offers you can’t refuse.


Kent German/CNET

Still, Hornick points out that the business travel trend line is much better than it was in 2020. Among respondents who said they will travel more in the future, 20% cited an effectiveness of teleconferencing, 18% said they simply can’t do their job remotely, and another 18% cited a job change into a role that requires more travel.

Oliver Wymans’ Scot Hornick shared many nuanced insights into the trajectory of business travel with CNET’s Brian Cooley. Hear them all in the video. 

Another week has passed by since my last column. We made it to Kentucky and Tennessee for both weddings and are now back in Michigan. We were thankful for safe travels to and from the weddings. Dan’s (who died in the accident with son-in-law Mose) wife Jodi was our driver and she did a wonderful job. It couldn’t have been easy driving for all of us. She is a nice person to have around. I know she is still hurting just like daughter Susan, both missing their loved ones. It always makes me sad when I see Susan and her children drive in without her beloved Mose beside her. Seeing sister Emma without Jacob and sister Verena without sister Susan seems so unreal. It can get overwhelming and that is why we need to let go and let God. We need to trust his plans are different than what we want sometimes.

At Michael and Laura’s wedding, I was a cook and my job was to prepare the fresh fruit for the fruit bowls. It was a good combination of strawberries, blueberries, grapes, and kiwi. The menu consisted of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, buttered noodles, dressing, mixed vegetables, broccoli/cauliflower salad, bread, butter and jam, several kinds of pies, angel food cake, mixed fruit, and pudding.

In the afternoon we started out on the 4 1/2 hour drive to Tennessee. We stayed at a motel and attended the wedding at the church for Jamin and Saloma. Their weddings are different than ours as the father walks the bride down the aisle. The couple left after the wedding for their several week honeymoon. We wish both couples God’s blessings as they start their lives together as one.

The menu for this wedding was boneless chicken breasts and barbequed chicken, diced red potatoes, coleslaw, dinner rolls, ice cream, donuts, lemonade, and coffee.

We had supper with Saloma’s parents Pete and Carol (Joe’s sister) along with some of Joe’s family and others who had attended the wedding. We then headed back to the motel. The children enjoyed swimming at the pool. The next day we drove towards home about 5 1/2 hours then slept in a motel outside of Indianapolis, IN. The next day we spent the day at the Indianapolis zoo. We had a little over three hours to drive home.

We had a nice time but everyone was glad to be home again.

Son Kevin turned 16 on Sept. 2 while we were gone. Monday night we had cake and ice cream in honor of his birthday. Also on the menu were banana poppers and Italian potatoes and sausage.

We had some storms go through our area again but we didn’t get anything much. Hopefully no one else did either. Daughter Susan and children and daughter Verena came for the night.

Today Joe’s sisters and nieces will come help us clean. Plans are to clean the basement and can room, and if we get that far, our breezeway.

Saturday we have