The data, which has been aggregated from analysis of over 700 companies across the restaurant, pub, bar and QSR sectors, further highlights the devastating impact Covid-19 continues to have on hospitality employment.
A further 8,591 workers across the sector lost their jobs in December.
It is the smallest decline in job losses since May, suggesting that the Government’s commitment to extending the furlough scheme until April is protecting some sector jobs.
Despite this, though, sector recruitment remains at a standstill, with the number of new starters in December (4,736) dropping by 43% compared to the period from August to October.
The data also reveals that the workforce shrunk by 28% in December, compared to the same month in 2019.
Broken down by sector, pubs experienced the least negative impact with a year-on-year drop in labour of 22%. This is followed by QSRs with a drop of 30%, and the restaurant sector with a 31% drop. The most impacted sector was hotels, where there was a 33% reduction in labour compared to last year.
The data indicates that the number of hours worked across the sector dropped by almost two thirds (63%) in December, against the same month the previous year.
Despite this significant year-on-year decline, it is still 49% greater than the number of hours worked in November, signifying how the transition from the second national lockdown into the revised tiered system enabled operators to briefly capitalise, where possible, on festive trading.
“As we enter a new year, hospitality businesses would typically be reflecting on and celebrating a roaring festive trading period," says Sebastien Sepierre, managing director - EMEA at Fourth.
"But due to the pandemic, operators continued to suffer very difficult and challenging times in December, when many businesses were shut or running with severe restrictions, and are now faced with another lengthy period of little or no revenue.
“The fact that the number of sector job leavers remained low into December, compared to the spring and summer, is encouraging, as it proves the continued positive impact of the government re-committing to the furlough scheme.
"It is critical that this kind of top-level financial support remains in place for the sector, including an extension to the business rates and VAT cuts.
“We anticipate a tough period ahead but, with the vaccine rollout gathering momentum, the end could soon be in sight. It’s important that hospitality businesses are ready for the lifting of restrictions, whenever that may be, and we look forward to supporting our customers and partners back onto their feet.”
The information shared comes from a monthly workforce data report, which explores how the industry is navigating the challenges of operating in the current climate.
To read the full report, click here.