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

On 14 December 2021, the labour market statistics for August-October 2021 were published.

These statistics suggest a continued recovery for the UK labour market, with some of the labour market indicators returning to pre-pandemic levels. Employment levels have been increasing in recent months, while unemployment levels have been falling. However, a decrease in self-employment over the pandemic means that employment levels have still not recovered, and with the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme in September, increases in unemployment continue to be forecast for later in the year.

To date, the pandemic has had more of an impact on the labour market status of particular age groups. Young workers and workers aged 65+ have been most likely to have left employment and have seen the biggest increase in unemployment.

The number of people claiming unemployment related benefits fell by 49,800 in the month to November 2021 but remains 772,100 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 jobs that are furloughed has been gradually falling since the end of January when 4.9 million jobs were furloughed. Over 11.7 million jobs have been furloughed since the start of the scheme.

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.

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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