Young people ‘worst affected by post-furlough unemployment’

Fiona Simpson
Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Young people are among those worst affected by unemployment as the furlough scheme ends, research from the Resolution Foundation shows.

Rishi Sunak's furlough scheme ends this month. Picture: Parliament UK
Rishi Sunak's furlough scheme ends this month. Picture: Parliament UK

In its new report Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, the Foundation finds that around one-in-five young people, aged 18 to 24, who were furloughed during lockdown have since lost their jobs and just one-in-three young people who have lost their jobs have been able to find new work.

The report, supported by the Health Foundation, includes a detailed online YouGov survey of 6,061 adults across the UK and analyses how the UK labour market has changed during the first eight months of the Covid-19 crisis, and the outlook for jobs over the coming months.

The report notes that while widespread furloughing has curbed the rise in unemployment in the early phase of the pandemic, the winding down of the Job Retention Scheme (JRS) is revealing the true nature of Britain’s jobs crisis.

So-far, the post-furloughing fall into unemployment has been most common among 18-24-year olds (19 per cent), black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) workers (22 per cent) and those previously working on insecure contracts (22 per cent), according to the report.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak began winding down the scheme from September and it will be replaced with the less generous Job Support Scheme next month.

In July, he also announced the £2bn Kickstart jobs scheme to boost employment for 16- to 24-year-olds following the Covid-19 crisis.

Kathleen Henehan, senior research and policy analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said: “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.

“But the true nature of Britain’s jobs crisis is starting to reveal itself. Around one-in-five young people, and over one-in-five BAME workers, have fallen straight from furloughing into unemployment.

“Worryingly, fewer than half of those who have lost their jobs during the pandemic have been able to find work since. This suggests that even if the public health crisis recedes in a few months’ time, Britain’s jobs crisis will be with us for far longer.”

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