Post-furlough unemployment hits young and BAME workers, research says


Ethnic minority workers and young people are more likely to be made unemployed post-furlough, financial experts have said.

Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities have been worst hit by the winding down of the Government’s job retention scheme, research published on Wednesday by the Resolution Foundation think tank shows.

About 22% of BAME workers who had been supported by the subsidies were unemployed in September, a figure only matched by those who were previously in insecure work.

The proportion was also particularly high for 18-24 year-olds, standing at 19%, and for hospitality workers, at 15%.

This despite the figure for the general population being 9%, according to the Resolution Foundation. Its research is based on a survey of more than 6,000 adults.

The report also said that while more than a half of furloughed people had returned to work, a third were still furloughed either fully or partially last month.

And that only 43% of those who had lost their jobs since March had found new work by September, a figure that falls to 33% for young people and 36% in the hospitality and leisure industries.

Kathleen Henehan, a researcher at the think-tank, said: “The first eight months of the Covid crisis have been marked by an almighty economic shock and unprecedented support that has cushioned the impact in terms of people’s livelihoods.

“But the true nature of Britain’s jobs crisis is starting to reveal itself. Around one-in-five young people, and over one-in-five BAME workers, have fallen straight from furloughing into unemployment.

“Worryingly, fewer than half of those who have lost their jobs during the pandemic have been able to find work since. This suggests that even if the public health crisis recedes in a few months’ time, Britain’s jobs crisis will be with us for far longer.”

The scheme to prevent massive job losses during the coronavirus crisis initially saw the Treasury support up to 80% of a worker’s wages if they were placed on furlough.

But Chancellor Rishi Sunak began winding it down from September and is replacing it with a less generous job support scheme which starts next month.

The Treasury defended its response, highlighting the Kickstart scheme to create subsidised jobs for young people and work to increase apprenticeships.

A spokeswoman said: “We’re doing everything we can to ensure our coronavirus support reaches those who need it the most, across all backgrounds.

“Our wage support schemes, loans and other measures have helped protect millions of jobs across the country through this crisis.”