By Claire West

This month the Economic & Labour Market Review from the Office for National Statistics has a series of articles focusing on various impacts of the recent recession.

Impact of the recession on households This article uses data from the Labour Force Survey and the Living Costs and Food Survey to look at how the recession affected the proportions of working and workless households below state pension age and how the level of household income changed. The proportion of workless households rose from 15.7 per cent in April-June 2007 to 17.2 per cent in April-June 2009, while households where all working-age adults were employed dropped from 57.7 per cent to 54.7 per cent of all households over the same period. Despite the increase in the households in which no one works, there was no change to average household disposable income, widely thought of as the income used to buy goods and services. Income before benefits fell by 2 per cent but was largely offset by a slight increase in cash benefits and a drop in the average level of direct taxation, due to a fall in income tax payments.

Output and expenditure in the last three UK recessions This article sets out to compare the main features of the last three UK recessions. It finds the peak-to-trough fall in GDP between 2008 Q1 and 2009 Q3 of 6.4 per cent marks the deepest recession since the Second World War — and is much closer in magnitude to the recession of the early 1980s than the last recession in the early 1990s.

The labour market in the 1980s, 1990s and 2008-09 recessions The evidence on employment, jobs and unemployment all suggest that the labour market has been more resilient this time round, this article concludes. Lower interest rates have removed some of the cash-flow constraints on businesses, and lower inflation has made it easier for firms to restrict wage growth. The rise in part-time at the expense of full-time jobs also reflects that employment may have been protected somewhat by a greater adjustment in hours worked than in previous downturns.

The labour market in the 2008-2009 recession: employment This article concludes that while the recession was remarkable for its depth and duration, the loss of employment was relatively low. Reasons for this seem to include: employers entering the recession in good financial shape; firms’ cash flow being helped by rapid reductions in interest rates and fiscal stimulus; and wage moderation from workers Unemployment and inactivity in the recession The rise in unemployment caused by the recession has been small relative to the fall in GDP, this article argues, while the numbers receiving the other major workless benefits, mainly Income Support for lone parents and incapacity benefits, are not rising. This is in sharp contrast to the last two recessions, where dependency grew by between 750,000 and 1 million.

The global recession and its impact on tourists’ spending in the UK This article suggests that the economic crisis has had a negative a negative direct impact on tourism in the UK of around £42 million, although this was the relatively small difference between a large increase in holiday tourism and falls in business travel and visiting friends and relations. In turn, this led to a negative indirect impact of £45 million, causing the economy a net loss of £87 million.