Two thirds of fur­lough staff re­turn

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Front Page - By Tim Wal­lace

AL­MOST two thirds of staff who were put on fur­lough are back at work, in­di­cat­ing that the econ­omy is re­cov­er­ing and that the scheme suc­ceeded in pro­tect­ing their em­ploy­ment.

One-in-eight em­ploy­ees are still be­ing paid to stay at home, ac­cord­ing to the Of­fice for Na­tional Sta­tis­tics, down from al­most one in three at the start of May. It means the to­tal num­ber on the Job Re­ten­tion Scheme has fallen by more than 60pc from its height. The Bank of Eng­land be­lieves that about 7m peo­ple were fur­loughed at the peak in May.

How­ever, the in­creas­ing re­bound means Ox­ford Eco­nomics now es­ti­mates that un­em­ploy­ment will rise to 6.5pc by the end of 2020, rather than the 8pc forecast by an­a­lysts. Martin Beck, the econ­o­mist be­hind the pre­dic­tion, said re­open­ing the econ­omy with the lift from the VAT cut and Eat Out to Help Out scheme ap­pears to have boosted ac­tiv­ity.

ONS road traf­fic in­di­ca­tors show lor­ries are now back on the roads in num­bers match­ing Fe­bru­ary lev­els and cars are at be­tween 83pc and 102pc of their old vol­umes.

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