Six months after Covid-19 first hit, it is clear that it is the greatest economic crisis of the modern age. The economy has contracted far more rapidly than in previous crises, with GDP dropping by a record 19.5 per cent in April, and despite four subsequent consecutive monthly increases since then, remaining 9.2 per cent below the February 2020 level in August. Early indicators suggest at best a slow recovery that is stalling as the country faces a new wave of cases and harsher and localised restrictions on economic activity.
• The second LSE-CEP Survey of Self-employment was undertaken in September 2020. Here we report results, updating and extending our analysis from earlier in the year.
• Between April and August, the self-employed experienced little economic recovery, with hours and incomes being significantly lower than the same time last year, and 58 per cent reporting having less work than usual in August. Solo self-employed and older workers continue to be the most negatively affected.
• Self-employed individuals who find work through apps – such as private hire drivers – are among the least negatively affected, with a third reporting having more work than usual. At the same time, many consider their health to be at risk but continue to work due to concerns about losing their job, strongly suggesting a one-sided flexibility in these “gig economy” jobs.
• One fifth of workers consider it likely that they will leave self-employment. This is higher among less risk-averse workers, younger workers, and those excluded from government support.
• Self-employed workers were seemingly overly optimistic during the lockdown, as they are now pushing back their expectations on when their business will be back to normal.
• Schools reopening has lifted some of the pressure off self-employed parents, whose work was adversely affected by the intensified caregiving responsibilities during the lockdown.
• The self-employed have benefitted from the renewed availability of government support but, even six months into the crisis, their awareness of some of the schemes on offer remains limited.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story @ Covid-19 and the self-employed: six months into the crisis