This page contains data and analysis published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) from 12 to 16 October 2020. Go to our live page for the most up-to-date insights on COVID-19.

16 October 2020

Ethnic background contrasts in deaths involving COVID-19

A substantial proportion of the differences in COVID-19 mortality for people of ethnic minority backgrounds can be explained by demographic, geographical and socioeconomic factors, modelling has found.

After adjustments for those factors, males in all ethnic minority groups other than Chinese retained a higher rate of COVID-19 mortality; for females, all other than Bangladeshi, Chinese and Mixed ethnic groups retained a raised rate of COVID-19 mortality following adjustments.

Most minority ethnicities have higher COVID-19 mortality rate

Rate of death compared to White ethnicities, adjusted by various possible factors in England and Wales, to 28 July

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In England and Wales, there were notable increased rates of death involving COVID-19 for people of Black African, Black Caribbean, Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnic background compared to the White ethnic group.

The latest research considers whether higher risk health conditions such as diabetes or heart disease could account for ethnic mortality differences.

Use of hospital records showed that although some health conditions were more common in certain ethnic groups, these differences did not have a significant effect in explaining ethnic group differences.

Researchers took account of age, where people live in England, how densely populated that area is and other socio-economic characteristics, such as multi-generational households or occupational exposure.

Adding health conditions to the model, the rate of death involving Covid-19 for Black African males is still 2.5 times higher than for those of White background, and 2.1 times higher for Black African females.

15 October 2020

No increase in business closures yet

There was no increase in business closures in Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2020, according to the latest data from the Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR).

While a higher number of closures might have been expected because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, business deaths in Quarter 3 were slightly lower than in the same period in 2019 and similar to the number of closures in Quarter 3 of the past three years taken together.

Notable lags in the removal of a business from the IDBR, because of economic, legal and statistical processes, may explain why business closures have not risen significantly in Quarter 2 (Apr to June) or Quarter 3. Increased business closures as a result of the coronavirus pandemic may yet be reflected in data in subsequent quarters.

In contrast, the number of business creations in the UK in Quarter 3 2020 was slightly higher than in Quarter 3 2019, following a small fall in Quarter 2 2020. This is somewhat contrary to expectations that business creation would be significantly lower as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

There is typically a shorter lag in adding businesses to the IDBR after the effective creation of the business than there is for removing businesses from the IDBR after their effective closure. As such, the rebound in Quarter 3 2020 is likely to reflect a genuine trend for increased business creation.

The types of businesses created during Quarter 3 2020 were also notably different to the types of businesses created in Quarter 3 in previous years. Broadly speaking, businesses created in this period were smaller than usual (based on both employment and turnover), with businesses created in Quarter 3 having fewer employees on average than in any other quarter in the past four years.

Industries less affected by the pandemic, including those that offer greater opportunities for homeworking such as professional and administrative services industries, made up a larger share of business births than usual in Quarter 3.

13 October 2020

UK labour market

Our latest figures on the UK labour market have now been published.

Early estimates for September 2020 suggest that there is little change in the number of payroll employees in the UK, with an increase of 20,000 compared with August 2020. Since March 2020, the number of payroll employees has fallen by 673,000; however, the larger falls were seen at the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Data from our Labour Force Survey (LFS) show the employment rate has been decreasing since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, while the unemployment rate and the level of redundancies has been increasing in recent periods. Total hours worked, while still low, show signs of recovering and there are fewer people temporary away from work.

Redundancies increased by 113,000 on the year, and a record 114,000 on the quarter, to 227,000. The annual increase was the largest since April to June 2009, with the number of redundancies reaching its highest level since May to July 2009.

After a record low of 343,000 vacancies in April to June 2020, there was an increase to 488,000 vacancies in July to September 2020. The level of vacancies is still 40.5% lower than a year ago.

Annual growth in employee pay strengthened in August 2020 as employees continued to return to work from furlough; this followed strong falls in the months since April when growth was affected by lower pay for furloughed employees and reduced bonuses.

The Claimant Count, an Experimental Statistic, has increased by 120.3% since March 2020. This includes both those who are working with low income or hours and those who are not working.

13 October 2020

Productivity measure sees largest fall since 2009

Labour productivity, as measured by output per hour, fell by 1.8% in Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2020. This is the largest fall since Quarter 2 2009. This was driven by a measure of output, gross value added (GVA), falling faster than hours worked. Compared with the previous quarter, GVA fell by 21.5%, while hours worked fell by 20%.

Output per hour and output per worker are usually more closely aligned, but the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), which allows companies to keep staff employed while working zero hours, has resulted in a large disparity between the two measures, as many furloughed workers are still employed but not producing any output.

Further estimates of the effect of the furlough scheme on labour productivity have been explored in our latest labour productivity bulletin.