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

On 15 June, the labour market statistics for February-April 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, increases in unemployment continue to be forecast for when the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme comes to a close later this year.

To date, the pandemic has had more of an impact on the labour market status of particular age groups.

Young workers and older workers have been most likely to have left employment, and also most likely to have become economically inactive. However, the larger rises in unemployment have been for those aged between 25 and 64.

The number of people claiming unemployment related benefits fell by 13,000 in May 2021 from the month before, but remains 1.4 million higher than in March 2020.

3.4 million jobs were on furlough through the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) as at 30 April 2021. The number of jobs that are furloughed has been gradually falling since the end of January when 4.9 million jobs were furloughed. Over 11.5 million jobs have been furloughed since the start of the scheme.

The fourth grant of the Government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) opened for applicants on the 22 April 2021. By 9 May, 1.7 million claims had been made.

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


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