'Furloughed workers more likely to have lost their jobs'

Workers on leave were six times more likely to be jobless than other workers, according to new research.

However, the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (JRS) is likely to have only led to a small increase in the number of inactive people, the Resolution Foundation said.

The study of 6,100 adults found that around 136,000 workers went from vacation to either unemployment or inactivity.

The think tank’s research found that nearly nine out of ten workers who were on leave in September were employed in October, while 12% went into either unemployment or inactivity.

The foundation said its study showed the government was right to extend the JRS until the end of September, adding that the largest economic decline in a century had resulted in one of the smallest recession-driven spikes in unemployment.

While the vacation program was successful in curbing unemployment, workers recently on leave were six times more likely to become unemployed than other workers in October, the report said.

The Foundation added that this higher risk of unemployment is borne exclusively by workers on full leave, with partially leave workers no longer at risk of losing their jobs than full-time workers.

Charlie McCurdy, an economist at the Resolution Foundation, said, “During its 18 month period, the Job Retention Scheme has supported over 11 million workers, preventing lockouts and huge behavioral changes that have caused catastrophic spikes in unemployment.

“Plans to close the program early raised concerns that its end would trigger another spike in unemployment, but expanding the program beyond reopening the economy this summer helped limit that increase to just 136,000 workers .

“While it is to be welcomed that unemployment has remained low, workers recently on leave were at a much higher risk of losing their jobs in October.

“This reinforces the need for the UK’s stuttering economic recovery to intensify so that more of these workers can get back to work quickly rather than leaving the labor market entirely.”

A government spokesman said: “The vacation program has been a lifeline for people across the UK, helping more than 11 million workers during the toughest economic times.”

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