Sector Shutdowns During The Coronavirus Crisis: Which .

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Sector shutdowns during the coronaviruscrisis: which workers are most exposed?IFS Briefing Note BN278Robert JoyceXiaowei Xu

Sector shutdowns during the coronavirus crisis: which workers aremost exposed?Authors: Robert Joyce (IFS) and Xiaowei Xu (IFS)SummaryThe lockdown in response to the Covid-19 pandemic has effectively shut down a number ofsectors. Restaurants, shops and leisure facilities have been ordered to close, air travel hashalted, and public transport has been greatly reduced.Our analysis shows: The lockdown will hit young workers the hardest. Employees aged under 25 wereabout two and a half times as likely to work in a sector that is now shut down asother employees. On the eve of the crisis sectors that are shut down as result ofsocial distancing measures employed nearly a third (30%) of all employees under theage of 25 (25% of young men and 36% of young women). This compares to just onein eight (13%) of workers aged 25 and over. (These figures all exclude full-timestudents with part-time jobs). Low earners are seven times as likely as high earners to have worked in a sectorthat is now shut down. Fully one third of employees in the bottom tenth of theearnings distribution work in shut down sectors versus just 5% of those in the top10%. Women were about one third more likely to work in a sector that is now shutdown than men: one in six (17% of) female employees were in such sectors,compared to one in seven (13% of) male employees. One mitigating factor is that the majority of the affected younger workers andlower earners live with parents or others whose earnings are likely to be lessaffected, so many may suffer smaller hits to their living standards than otherwise.Who works in the most negatively affected sectors?1

We estimate that, on the eve of the crisis, around one in seven (15% of) employees in theUK worked in a sector that has largely or entirely shut down during the Covid-19 lockdown.These include non-food retail, restaurants and hotels, passenger transport, personalservices and arts and leisure services (the full list of included sectors is given in theendnotes).Because women disproportionately work in retail and hospitality, Covid-19 is likely to have abigger effect on their earnings. Overall, on the eve of the crisis women were about one thirdmore likely to work in a sector that is now shut down than men: one in six (17% of) femaleemployees were in such sectors, compared to one in seven (13% of) male employees.There is an even larger disparity by age. The lockdown is likely to hit younger workers thehardest, as shown in Figure 1 below. On the eve of the crisis, employees aged under 25were about two and a half times as likely to work in a sector that is now shut down as otheremployees. Sectors that are shut down as result of social distancing measures employednearly a third (30%) of all employees under the age of 25 (25% of young men and 36% ofyoung women). This compares to just one in eight (13% of) workers aged 25 and over. Thesefigures all exclude workers who are in full-time education: we are not talking, for example,about students who had part-time jobs in bars and restaurants.Figure 1. Share of employees in shut-down sectors, by gender and ageSource: Quarterly Labour Force Survey Q1-Q4 2019, Waves 1 and 5 only.Notes: Employees only. Excludes workers in full-time education.The largest disparity of all is simply by earnings level. Figure 2 shows the share of workersdirectly affected by the lockdown across ten equally-sized bins (deciles) of individual weeklyearnings. Those with the lowest earnings are about seven times as likely to work in shutdown sectors as those with the highest earnings. 34% of employees in the bottom tenth of2

the earnings distribution work in sectors directly affected by the lockdown, compared to just5% of those in the top tenth.Figure 2. Share of employees in shut-down sectors, by individual earningsSource: Quarterly Labour Force Survey Q1-Q4 2019, Waves 1 and 5 only.Notes: Employees only. Excludes workers in full-time education.These results chime with a recent survey which found that younger workers and low earnerswere more likely to have lost their jobs or seen their earnings fall by the end of March asresult of Covid-19.Other household membersSome workers in shut-down sectors will live with partners or other household memberswho are not directly affected by the lockdown, which may cushion them from falls in theirown earnings. This is particularly the case for young people whose jobs are most at risk,since over half (61%) of under-25s who work in shut-down sectors live with their parents.Figure 3 shows that whilst a nearly third of employees in this age group work in sectors thatare directly affected by the lockdown, only 16% of their total household earnings are drawnfrom these sectors. Nevertheless, this is still a larger share of household earnings than therespective figure for any other age group.3

Figure 3. Exposure to sector shut-downs, by ageSource: Quarterly Labour Force Survey Q1-Q4 2019, Waves 1 and 5 only.Notes: Employees only. Excludes workers in full-time education and those with self-employed household members (forwhom earnings are not recorded).Similarly, Figure 4 shows that whilst 34% of employees in the bottom tenth of the earningsdistribution work in shut-down sectors, only 16% of their total household earnings comesfrom these sectors. This is because more than half (53%) of the lowest earners who work ina shut-down sector have a partner or other household member (usually a parent) whoworks in an industry that is not directly affected by Covid-19, and who typically have higherearnings. Again though, even on the latter measure the lowest earners are more exposed tothe direct impacts of sectors shutting down than higher earners.Figure 4. Exposure to sector shutdowns, by earnings4

Source: Quarterly Labour Force Survey Q1-Q4 2019, Waves 1 and 5 only.Notes: Employees only. Excludes workers in full-time education and those with self-employed household members (forwhom earnings are not recorded).NotesThe list of sectors classed as being directly affected by the lockdown are as follows (4-digitSIC codes in brackets): Non-food, non-pharmaceutical retail (4719, 4730-4772, 4776-4799);passenger transport (4910, 4931-4939, 5010, 5030, 5110); accommodation and food (55105630); travel (7911-7990); childcare (8510, 8891); arts and leisure (9001-9329 except‘artistic creation’ 9003); personal care (9601-9609 except ‘funeral and related activities’9603); domestic services (9700).5

Sector shutdowns during the coronavirus crisis: which workers are most exposed? Authors: Robert Joyce (IFS) and Xiaowei Xu (IFS) Summary The lockdown in response to the Covid-19 pandemic has effectively shut down a number of sectors. Restaurants, shops and leisure facilities have been ordered to close, air travel has halted, and public transport has been greatly reduced. Our analysis shows .

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