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This paper tracks the evolving impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the labour market.

On 12 April 2022, the labour market statistics for December 2021-February 2022 were published.

The predominant labour market flow in the latest quarter was from unemployment to economic inactivity. There was a fall in unemployment in December 2021-February 2022 from the previous quarter, and although there was also a rise in employment levels, the rise in economic inactivity was much larger. Although unemployment levels are below their pre-pandemic levels, employment levels also remain below and inactivity levels are higher. High inflation also means another fall in real wages.

To date, the pandemic has had more of an impact on the labour market status of particular age groups. Workers aged 18-24 and 65+ have been most likely to leave employment.

The number of people claiming unemployment related benefits fell by 47,000 in the month to March 2022 but remains almost 500,000 higher than in March 2020.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) ended on 30 September 2021, and 1.2 million jobs were still on furlough on that day. The number of furloughed jobs fell gradually from the end of January when 4.9 million jobs were on furlough. Over 11.7 million jobs were furloughed overall.

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) also ended on 30 September. The fifth grant opened for applicants on the 29 July 2021 and by 28 October 2021, 1.3 million claims had been made to it.

Some workers are disproportionally economically impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. Workers who are from an ethnic minority group, young workers, low paid workers and disabled workers, have been most negatively economically impacted by the coronavirus.


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