This paper provides statistics and analysis of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme applied from 1 March 2020 and is currently due to end at the end of September 2021. The scheme provides grants to employers so they can retain and continue to pay staff during coronavirus related lockdowns, by furloughing employees at 80% of their wages.

By midnight on 14 June 2021, 11.6 million employee jobs had been furloughed through the Government’s job retention scheme, at a cost of £65.9 billion.

Furlough levels largely rise and falls with changes in lockdown restrictions and changes to the CJRS scheme.  The number of jobs furloughed peaked in June, fell throughout the summer and then increased in November and again in January after national lockdowns were introduced, and started to fall in March-May 2021.

Sectors

Some sectors have been much more affected by the coronavirus pandemic, and this is reflected in furlough levels. As at 31 May 2021, the three sectors with the highest furlough rates were the Accommodation and food services sector, with 34% (133,000) of eligible jobs on furlough, the Arts, entertainment and recreation sector with 29% (41,700) of jobs on furlough, and the Other service activities, with 19% (94,200) of eligible jobs on furlough.

These three sectors had by far the highest furlough rates at the end of May 2021: all other sectors had rates of 11% or less. Age and gender

Those aged 24 and under had the highest proportion of furloughed jobs, and women under 18 were more likely to be furloughed than men.

Age and gender

Those aged 24 and under had the highest proportion of furloughed jobs, and women under 18 were more likely to be furloughed than men.

Full and partial furlough

From 1 July 2020, the furlough scheme was made more flexible so that furloughed employees could be brought back part-time. Over summer 2020, the number of jobs partially furloughed rose as jobs fully furloughed fell, as lockdown restrictions eased, and employees were more able to go to work some of the time. The announcement of the November lockdown caused a much sharper increase in full furlough, and this happened again when the January 2021 lockdown began. 

Impact on the labour market

It is clear that the CJRS has been instrumental to avoiding a large rise in unemployment. In April 2020, the OBR published a reference scenario where unemployment would peak at 10.0% in Q2 2020. In reality, the highest rate of unemployment in 2020 was 5.1% in Q4.


Related posts