Post-furlough job losses hit young and minority workers hardest, study shows


One in five young people and more than one in five black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) workers who were furloughed during lockdown have since lost their jobs, according to a new report.

A survey of more than 6,000 Brits by the Resolution Foundation think tank showed that while the furlough scheme curbed unemployment levels in the early phase of the pandemic, the winding down of job support has laid bare the true scale of the country’s jobs crisis.

The report found half of the surveyed employees who had been furloughed are now back at work, while a third is still fully or partially furloughed.

But almost one in 10 workers have lost their job altogether after government support came to an end.

The post-furlough fall into unemployment was most common among 18 to 24-year-olds, with 19 per cent of this age group losing their job after being placed on leave.

BAME workers and those previously working on insecure contracts were even harder hit, as 22 per cent were made redundant.

The report’s findings imply an unemployment rate of seven per cent for September — well above the latest official figures of 4.5 per cent in the three months to August.

For young people this would rise to 20 per cent, marking the highest level of youth unemployment in four decades.

“The first eight months of the Covid crisis have been marked by an almighty economic shock and unprecedented support that has cushioned the impact in terms of people’s livelihoods,” said Kathleen Henehan, senior research and policy analyst at the Resolution Foundation.

“But the true nature of Britain’s jobs crisis is starting to reveal itself.”

The report also painted a bleak picture of the declining re-employment hopes for those laid off after furlough.

Under half of those who have lost their jobs since March had found new work by September, falling to just one in three among young people and 36 per cent in the hard-hit hospitality and leisure sectors.

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