The boss of the UK’s largest recruitment firm, Reed, has said he fears current trends suggest far more people are going to lose their jobs because of the coronavirus crisis.
James Reed predicted the unemployment rate could reach 15%, meaning five million people could be out of work.
He said recent job cuts by firms were «perhaps just the tip of the iceberg».
Reed has seen job advertisements drop by two-thirds, while applications per job are rising.
This week Bentley, Aston Martin, car dealership Lookers and engineering giant Rolls-Royce have all announced job cuts.
Speaking to the BBC’s Today programme, Mr Reed said more losses could be on the way since small businesses do not have to give advance notice of lay offs, as big companies do.
«My concern is that the data that we’re seeing, which is that the number of jobs advertised is down two-thirds and has been consistently for two months now, suggests that there could be a lot more job losses to come,» he said.
He predicts unemployment will rise sharply in the autumn, when the government’s furlough scheme comes to an end.
Mr Read said some people had predicted unemployment could reach levels not seen since the 1980s, when the jobless rate reached 11.9%.
«I fear it could be a lot worse than that, it might be more like the 1930s,» he said.
Currently, 8.7 million UK workers are receiving payments on the Job Retention Scheme.
The government has confirmed the scheme will run to the end of October, but by then employers will be paying a fifth of workers’ salaries.
«It’s very difficult for those businesses to re-employ all the people they’ve got furloughed,» Mr Reed said. «So I’m dreading this day of reckoning where they decide they’re not going to do that and a lot more people will become unemployed.»
Mr Reed said some industries were seeing a rise in recruitment, particularly in health and logistics, but huge sectors of the economy, such as leisure and tourism, remained completely shut down.
He added it was important for the economy to get going again in the next two or three months, or it would be hard for some firms to recover, and he called for clarity soon on how businesses can reopen.
In the early weeks of lockdown, claims for universal credit, the benefit for working-age people, hit a record monthly level of 1.5 million claims.
The UK’s financial regulator is to write to steelworkers who lost money transferring their pensions, amid a wider overhaul of the rules on charges.
Many members of the British Steel Pension Scheme lost significant sums of money over the advice they were given to transfer to a different scheme.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) will ban charges paid when a transfer from certain plans takes place.
It will contact 7,700 steelworkers outlining how to make a complaint.
Which charges will be banned?
The FCA said there were too many cases where people had been advised to transfer out of defined benefit, or final salary, pensions (guaranteed by employers) into defined contribution pensions (which depend on performance of investments) against their best interests.
The suggestion is that financial advisers had an interest in them doing so, as they could levy a charge only when the transfer went through.
Now the regulator has confirmed it will ban this so-called contingent charging in October.
The debate over pension transfers hit the headlines following the case of the British Steel pensioners who were pushed to transfer out of secure pensions in what was condemned as a feeding frenzy by advisers who levied high charges when transfers went ahead.
The FCA found that in 192 instances it reviewed, 21% appeared to be suitable, 47% appeared to be unsuitable, and 32% appeared to contain «information gaps».
The regulator will write directly to all 7,700 former members of the British Steel scheme who transferred out to «help them revisit the advice they received, and to complain if they have concerns».
Separately, it is conducting 30 enforcement investigations of pension advisers.
The FCA’s action has been criticised by some pension advisers, who say that genuine assistance will be lost as a result of the regulator’s attempt to tackle rogues in the sector.
Andy Bell, founder of AJ Bell, said: «Banning contingent charging swaps one set of problems for another and doesn’t get to the heart of the issue. Most importantly, defined benefit transfers will now become an option only available to the wealthy.
«Covid-19 will see the failure of businesses, which in turn will weaken or bring down final salary pension schemes. Members of defined benefit schemes, no matter how wealthy, should be allowed to access their right to transfer.»
When Ffion Storer-Jones wants to make an urgent work call she packs up her «portable desk» and sets off on a hike.
Broadband and phone signal is so bad in her home in mid Wales, she often has to go up a hill to get 4G.
With more of us now working from home, Future Generations Commissioner Sophie Howe has said broadband must become as essential as «gas, electricity and water».
The UK and Welsh governments said they had invested millions in broadband.
According to Openreach, 95% of Welsh homes and businesses are now receiving superfast broadband, more than in France and Germany – up from 44% in 2013.
But with many normally office-based staff now having to work from home during the coronavirus pandemic, some living in rural areas not covered, known as «not spots», say they are struggling.
While broadband is not devolved, the future generations commissioner has now put forward a five point plan for the Welsh Government calling on them to make broadband a «key public service or utility» in Wales.
Ms Howe said she expected more people to work from home even after lockdown was lifted and ministers should improve broadband infrastructure to help create a «greener Wales» by reducing the need to commute and travel to meetings.
She said: «Think about the way rural economies could be transformed if this way of working became the new normal.»
‘I’ve mapped out local 4G hotspots’
Ffion, who lives near Dolanog, Powys, has a backpack with a laptop and phone, ready to hike up a hill to make an urgent call or share large documents.
Having struggled to take part in meetings, she has mapped out where the 4G hotspots in her area are.
At the start of lockdown, Ffion was working from her family home for a non-governmental global health organisation based in Brussels, and campaigning for the Rural Youth Project, an international organisation that aims to make rural places viable for young people to live and work.
«The demands of daily calls, work webinars, video uploading and working on a team cloud-based system full-time on poor connection was challenging,» she said.
She said moving outside to find a better 4G connection was «not always easy».
«Whether it’s pouring down with rain or you don’t have a laptop maybe… and it’s expensive in terms of data which in my case is not unlimited,» she added.
‘Running a council with no 4G’
Denbighshire council leader Hugh Evans has been trying to lead the local authority from his farm near the village of Llanelidan, Ruthin.
But he lives in a «not spot» and has been unable to see his colleagues, as he has to phone into meetings rather than taking part in video streamed meetings online.
«Sitting in a meeting for me is about seeing how people react, seeing their body language. That’s gone,» he said.
He said while he was not complaining, running the cabinet from home without being able to see anyone was frustrating.
«It’s not an ideal scenario, where I feel in a rural area where I live, the digital investment has not kept up with the towns and cities.»
‘There’s now no limit to our business’
For Sarah Day good broadband means the sky is the limit for the company she works for.
As chief executive of Abercynon-based Practice Solutions, which supports health and social care companies, she said that the move to online meetings meant they could work with people across Wales, rather than having a local focus.
«Now we’re able to deliver that business virtually, there is no limit to who and where we may engage in other business opportunities in the future,» she said.
But she said she had noticed people living in some more rural areas struggled more than others, and digital infrastructure needed to improve so everyone could «work well at home».
‘Virtual Parliament not easy’
From June all 60 members of the Welsh Parliament will be able to take part in virtual sittings of the Senedd.
To date only a number of politicians have attended the video meetings, casting votes and quizzing ministers.
But Brexit Party member Mandy Jones, who represents north Wales, said the digital meetings had been hard for those living in rural communities.
She said living in a rural part of north Wales «means that my internet connection isn’t always strong enough to conduct all my work from home».
But the Senedd said its IT team had not had any complaints from members about connection problems.
While broadband is not devolved, and is the responsibility of the UK government, the Welsh Government said it had invested £200m in improving infrastructure, via its Superfast Cymru scheme.
A Welsh Government spokesman said: «We agree that broadband should be treated as a key utility like powers and water and have called on the UK government to introduce a proper Universal Service Obligation on providers.
«We have a range of measures to help those still not connected including voucher schemes, a further full fibre rollout and a new £10m community fund which we are developing with local authorities.»
The UK government’s Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport said it had spent £1.7bn on delivering better broadband across the UK.
«The funding has helped make superfast speeds available to 92% of premises in Denbighshire,» he said.
«It is fantastic that many rural homes and businesses in Wales are taking advantage of our voucher scheme subsidising the installation of gigabit-speed broadband, but we know there is more to do.
«So we have committed a further £5bn to make sure the hardest-to-reach areas don’t miss out on even faster internet speeds.»
La Comisión de Protección y Derecho Animal del Consejo Nacional de Abogados (CNA) pedirá la pena máxima para los que resulten responsables del hecho registrado en días pasados en la provincia de Herrera, donde un grupo de jóvenes presuntamente lanzó a una perra para que fuera atacada por un lagarto.
Los casos del nuevo coronavirus (COVID-19) solo pueden ser confirmados o descartados a través de la realización de las pruebas recomendadas por la Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS), siendo la Reacción en Cadena de Polimerasa (PCR por sus siglas en inglés) la más utilizada en el mundo, mientras que en Panamá se está utilizando la prueba serológica.
Clothing retailer Gap has reported a loss close to $1bn due to store closures because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The company was $932m (£740m) in the red for the three months to May, compared with a profit of $227m in the same period last year.
It comes as Gap wrote off the value of the goods it holds by more than a quarter of a billion dollars.
The firm’s shares were down by more than 8% in after-hours trade.
With net sales falling 43% in the period, Gap’s chief executive Sonia Syngal said they continued to reflect “material declines in May as a result of closures” but added that online demand was improving.
Retailers of non-essential goods, especially clothing, have been hit hard by restrictions aimed to help slow the spread of Covid-19.
Shops have been shut across much of the world as retailers were forced to limit their businesses to online operations.
San Francisco-based Gap, which operates almost 2,800 stores in North America, said that more than half of its company-operated stores in the US have now reopened.
Separately, Gap is is being sued by America’s largest shopping mall operator for refusing to pay rent for stores temporarily closed during the coronavirus pandemic.
Simon Property Group said in a lawsuit filed this week that the clothing retailer owes three months of rent, totalling $65.9m.
Gap has more than 390 stores at Indianapolis-based Simon’s malls, including its namesake brand, Old Navy and Banana Republic.
Simon Property Group temporarily closed all of its properties in March after major retailers at its malls, such as Gap, Macy’s and Nodstrom’s, shut their stores.
Large retailers, including Gap and sports shoe seller Foot Locker, have said they wouldn’t pay rent for stores that were forced to close due to the pandemic.
Gap did not directly mention the lawsuit during Thursday’s earnings conference call but chief financial officer Katrina O’Connell said «We’re just knee-deep in landlords today.»
«It’s very hard to say how long it will take, but I do know that one of our primary objectives is to use this opportunity to partner with our landlords to come up with a better profitability for the company.»