|Bid||1,408.50 x 0|
|Ask||1,411.00 x 0|
|Day's range||1,397.52 - 1,424.00|
|52-week range||1,017.00 - 2,340.00|
|Beta (5Y monthly)||0.80|
|PE ratio (TTM)||47.30|
|Earnings date||12 Nov 2020|
|Forward dividend & yield||N/A (N/A)|
|Ex-dividend date||19 Dec 2019|
|1y target est||1,915.22|
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(Bloomberg) -- Britain’s mounting labor market crisis was underscored by a 220,000 slump in employment during the height of the coronavirus lockdown, the worst decline since the global financial crisis.The fall in the second quarter coincided with a period that saw the most strict restrictions to contain the spread of the disease. The Office for National Statistics said early indicators for July suggest that the number of employees on payrolls is down around 730,000 compared with March.The figures highlight an economic shock that’s expected to escalate as government support for wages is gradually withdrawn from this month. They also heap pressure on Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak to extend the furlough programs that have so far kept the worst of the economic crisis at bay.The U.K. economy is reeling under the worst recession in at least a century, with data on Wednesday set to show the biggest economic contraction among Group of Seven nations in the second quarter.That has yet to translate into a significant jump in the unemployment rate, which stayed at 3.9% in the three months through June as people refrained from looking for work during the lockdown. Still, officials are increasingly worried that will change later this year, threatening any recovery in growth.What Bloomberg Economists’ Say...“A sharp fall in employment and the subdued level of vacancies both suggest the labor market has taken a significant hit in recent months. We expect the true cost to be revealed once the government’s furlough scheme ends in October. Our baseline forecast sees the jobless rate peak at 8.5% at year-end.”\-- Dan Hanson, senior U.K. economist. Read his full REACT.Workers on the furlough program, which has helped support 9.6 million jobs since it began in March, are classified as still being employed, and both the Bank of England and the U.K.’s fiscal watchdog have warned of a rapid acceleration when the plan ends in October.Tuesday’s data revealed broad-based evidence of the hit to the labor market inflicted by the pandemic:Pay excluding bonuses fell 0.2% in the second quarter from a year earlier -- the first negative reading for basic pay since records began in 2001While vacancies have picked up since the economy began to reopen, there were 274,000 fewer openings in the three months through July than in the previous quarterThe number of claims for unemployment benefits climbed to 2.69 million in July, an increase of almost 1.5 million since MarchAround 7.5 million workers, including furloughed employees, were temporarily away from work in June, with over 3 million off for at least three monthsThe number of hours worked each week on average in the second quarter plunged a record 18.4% to the lowest level since 1994BOE policy makers expect unemployment to rise materially to about 7.5% by the end of the year, accompanied by an increase in inactivity of about 400,000 people relative to before the crisis.Some firms are already paring back. This month alone, newsagent and stationery retailer WH Smith PLC said it’s cutting 1,500 jobs while Dixons Carphone Plc said it would lose 800 roles. Other household names to announce losses recently include Boots, the John Lewis Partnership, Selfridges and Harrods department stores, and luxury retailers Burberry and Mulberry.The ONS said the drop in in employment was driven by workers aged 65 and over, the self-employed and part-time workers. There were also around 300,000 people away from work because of the pandemic and receiving no pay in June.Most BOE officials agree that the labor market will be key to the recovery. Some economists are warning more than 3 million people could be out of work before the end of 2020 -- the worst since the de-industrialization of Britain under Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s.(Adds detail from report)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Early on in the pandemic, reports of the death of the office appeared greatly exaggerated. But as Covid-19 lingers, and second infection spikes dot the global map, something is changing in how employees and employers view the workplace: It’s being seen as an option rather than a necessity for many white-collar workers.Once we get the pandemic under control, this shift will be welcomed by cost-cutting companies and staff who dread the daily commute. But for the owners of commercial property — already reeling from the move away from brick-and-mortar retail — the consequences may be severe. The market values of commercial real-estate companies, such as Land Securities Group Plc and British Land Co. Plc, have plummeted.This isn’t just a question of tech workers at Alphabet Inc., Twitter Inc. or Facebook Inc. taking the relatively straightforward step of doing their stuff from home. All kinds of companies are making the same calculation. Alan Jope, boss of consumer goods giant Unilever, doesn’t see workers ever returning to offices 100%. Swiss bank UBS Group AG says a third of its employees could keep operating from home.With property being a big business cost, employers would love to cut their space. Burberry Group Plc, a British luxury company, is exploring whether it can save money on its offices outside the U.K.Analysts at UBS assume that, on average, working one or two days a week at home could become the norm. That would have big implications for office vacancy rates, which have a close correlation to rents. In London’s West End commercial district, for example, more home working — together with an impending recession — could mean the vacancy rate rising from 3.3% in the first quarter of 2020 to just over 10% at the end of the year, according to UBS. It might still be 11.5% in 2022, the bank said.The real crunch won’t come immediately. Susan Munden, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, notes that commercial tenants are tied into leases, and there are heavy costs in exiting rental agreements early. At the biggest European real-estate firms, average leases are four to eight years.Better news for the property industry is that it will be able to reuse commercial space as residential developments assuming people still want to live in cities once the pandemic ebbs. By cutting supply in this way, UBS estimates that the West End office vacancy rate could stabilize at 5.1% by 2025.And the office won’t disappear altogether. While Zoom does well enough for the more transactional elements of work, there’s no substitute for face-to-face interaction when collaborating on a creative project, building trust with clients or mentoring staff. Yet landlords will have to work harder. Tenants already wanted modern, environmentally friendly buildings with good quality air, outside terraces and facilities such as bicycle storage. Covid will accelerate this trend.Real-estate providers like Derwent London Plc — known for stylish buildings including the White Collar Factory in Shoreditch, which boasts a rooftop running track — may be better placed. British Land has taken note of the change, refurbishing parts of the flagship Broadgate estate it manages in London. Gecina SA, a Paris property specialist whose mission is to “design, build and manage living spaces to enrich the experience of our customers,” saw its net-asset value rise in the first half of this year.Even as offices lose staff to home-working, they may need to retain space to make sure desks can be kept the right distance apart. Given more stringent hygiene requirements, hot-desking might be less desirable. Meanwhile, if the office is used for more collaborative work, more room might be set aside for meeting areas. British Land is already seeing demand from companies seeking short-term overspill space.Tenants' greater desire for flexibility — whether that’s through shorter leases or monthly rent payments — will nevertheless be a challenge for landlords, who need some certainty to service their own extensive borrowings. In the Covid era, such long-term guarantees are in short supply. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Andrea Felsted is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the consumer and retail industries. She previously worked at the Financial Times.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.