The latest release of Government statistics for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough), throws up a number of interesting insights, some of which we’ll take a look at in this piece. Beginning with the high level overview, we can see in the following chart that the numbers have fallen month-on-month since the height of 8.82 million at the beginning of May, to 3.26 million by the end of August:
The statistics are broken down into a number of different metrics, one of which is furlough by sector. In the chart below, we have taken the data on numbers furloughed per sector, and using our own data on job numbers in each of those sectors, we have calculated the percentage of each industry that has been furloughed, on a time-series from the end of March to the end of August.
It comes as no surprise to see the Accommodation and food services sector having by far the highest proportion of jobs furloughed, reaching a peak of just over 66% in April. However, since the reopening of the hospitality industry at the beginning of June, we see the percentage decreasing rapidly, down to 24.1% by the end of August, although we don’t yet know whether this is mainly because of people returning to their jobs, or being made redundant. What is also significant, is the fact that the Arts, entertainment and recreation sector has seen a high proportion of jobs furloughed throughout the period, and by the end of August it tops the chart, with 27.7% of its pre-Lockdown jobs still furloughed:
Another metric used in the latest release, is details of furlough by Parliamentary constituency. The Hexagon map below shows the take up rate of furlough in each constituency as a percentage of eligible employments, as at 31st August. The most noticeable feature highlighted by the map, is that the areas with the highest take up are, by and large, either in London or the London commuter belt. For instance, Tottenham, Crawley, Finchley and Golders Green, Enfield and Southgate all had over 16% of their eligible employments still furloughed at the end of August. This becomes even more interesting when set aside our recent analysis of Claimant Counts, which showed that the biggest rise in claimant numbers is again in and around London. Although we will have to wait to see what following months’ releases show, particularly as the scheme is wound up at the end of October, the high level of furlough and large rise in Claimant Counts in London and surrounding areas suggests that these areas may well be hit hard by unemployment:
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