Number of people on furlough falls to lowest level amid pandemic

Almost three million people have moved off the furlough scheme since March, according to data published today by the ONS.

The figures, which cover the period until the end of June, show the fewest number of people on furlough since the scheme launched in March 2020, down from a peak of nine million in May last year.

The ONS Business Insights and Conditions Survey suggests that between 1.1 and 1.6 million people may still be on furlough.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “It’s fantastic to see businesses across the UK open, employees returning to work and the numbers of furloughed jobs falling to their lowest levels since the scheme began.

“The figures also show a striking fall in the number of young people on furlough, who for the first time ever, no longer have the highest take-up of the scheme.

“Jobs in sectors including hospitality and retail are now also moving off the scheme the fastest, - with more than a million coming off the scheme in the last three months.This decline means those in hospitality and retail no longer make up the majority of all those on furlough. Furlough was extended until the end of September to allow for businesses to adjust beyond the end of the roadmap and to bring people back to work.”

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