What proportion of furloughed workers won’t have a job to go back to?

There are currently 7.5 million people in Britain who are furloughed. While we are all in lockdown the economy is contracting, which suggests that there may not be jobs for all of these furloughed workers when the furlough funding starts to taper in the summer and ultimate ends in the autumn. But, how many of these 7.5 million people should expect that their job won’t be there for them at this point.

The answer to this question has some very serious implications for the labour market, but I can’t find anyone who has tried to predict this. So I’ve been looking around and managed to find three data points that seem useful in answering this question.

Firstly, there is a survey of Chief Financial Officers conducted by the Bank of England which suggests that there is going to be an 18% fall in employment over the next few months.

Secondly, there is a survey of individuals from the Resolution Foundation that says 13% of people think that they will lose their job over the next three months.

Finally, I asked 157 of my Twitter mates to guess. A summary of their guesses is below.

In other words everyone is coming in around 15%. Now, none of these pieces of research are directly answering my question, but they all give us a good idea of what people are anticipating at the moment. If they are right this means that over a million new people will be hitting the dole queue by the end of October.

That is a very worrying prospect!

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