High street job losses 'worth £1.5 billion in lost GDP'

By agency reporter
August 14, 2018

Since the beginning of 2018, almost 25,000 jobs at high profile retailers have been either lost or reportedly placed at risk. This comes after a series of store closures and company administration announcements in the first seven months of the year. 

New analysis from the New Economics Foundation, using the latest data from the Office for National Statistics, has shown that the 25,000 jobs lost or at risk place a further 8,300 jobs in retail supply chains under threat. In total, the value of this employment to the economy is worth £1.5 billion in GDP.

These findings do not mean that GDP is necessarily weaker than it would otherwise have been, since new jobs and output may have been created elsewhere in retail or in the broader economy. However, the findings are illustrative of the shift in economic importance away from the high street during 2018 so far.

Alfie Stirling, Head of Economic at the New Economics Foundation, said: “The shape of our economy is beginning to flex and buckle in response to powerful structural forces such as weakening household spending power and a shift in consumer behaviour towards online purchasing. But moments like these also represent an opportunity for policymakers, businesses and communities to proactively choose a new direction going forwards.

“The high street has always provided space for tremendous economic and social value in the UK. But if these broad benefits are to be preserved, the future may need to be reimagined with less dependency on short-term material consumption.”

Job loss figures pertain to high profile retail outlets reported on in the media and are likely to represent an underestimate of all retail jobs lost or at risk in 2018 so far. However, these figures also do not take account of new retail jobs added or created in the year date. They should therefore be treated as gross job losses, not net.

Figures for job losses are based on full-time equivalent employment and have been rounded to the nearest 100. 

* New Economics Foundation https://neweconomics.org/

[Ekk/6]

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