Arts and entertainment industry still in recovery mode, trucker shortage bites and import headaches linger
- The arts, entertainment and recreation industry reported that 57% of businesses are experiencing a decrease in turnover compared with normal levels for this time of year (late June 2021).
- The arts, entertainment and recreation industry continue to report the highest proportion of its workforce on furlough leave, at 15%.
- The arts, entertainment and recreation industry, and the accommodation and food service activities industry have seen the largest movements in currently trading businesses year on year, increasing from 34% to 91%, and 41% to 94% respectively.
- The transportation and storage industry had the lowest percentage of businesses currently trading in early July 2021 at 81%, down from 94% in early October 2020.
- The proportion of currently trading businesses experiencing a challenge in importing and exporting is still over 50% and has risen slightly in recent weeks.
Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst, Hargreaves Lansdown
‘’With bands booked and curtains ready to rise on new productions, the easing of restrictions in the next few days could finally give arts and entertainment businesses a much-needed pass to a stronger recovery. Tough social distancing rules have delayed a significant bounce back with more than 50% of businesses in the sector still unable to pull in revenues they would usually expect at this time of year before the pandemic hit. The sector still had the highest number of people on furlough, with the delay to so called ‘freedom day’ in June a major set-back.
After the mass closures during the first lockdown and the rolling restrictions ever since, it’s been a tortuous journey of trying to drum up enough trade to reopen, but there is progress being made. The industry has seen one of the largest movements in currently trading businesses year on year, increasing from 34% to 91%. Hospitality has also witnessed a dramatic reopening compared to last year, with currently trading businesses jumping from 41% to 94%.
The doors may be open at venues but there are still plenty of challenges to contend with, not least staff absences and forced closures due to current infection spikes. Just as they are getting back on their feet, there are fresh problems being scanned on the horizon. There are warnings coming from the hospitality and entertainment industries that government plans for Covid vaccine passports for some venues would be confusing and unfair and could lead to a fresh wave of permanent closures.
Staff shortages aren’t just having an impact on the hospitality industry. This snapshot from the ONS also shows that the lack of drivers in the transport industry is hampering trade. The transportation and storage industry had the lowest percentage of businesses currently trading in early July 2021 at 81%, down from 94% in early October 2020. Testing and training of new drivers has been severely limited during the pandemic and it’s having a clear knock on effect.
The challenge for the transportation industry comes at a time when it’s also trying to help customers grapple with the upheaval of new import and export duties for trade to the EU. Far from being unwound the red tape appears to be firmly stuck and increased import duties are continuing to cause a major headache. Importing appears to be more difficult than delivering goods to the EU but more companies have been reporting challenges with exports as well over recent weeks.’’