Fewest number of workers on furlough since scheme launched last year

Less than two million employees now remain on furlough as record numbers return to the workplace, a major study has revealed.

The research, published by HM Treasury, comes as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) draws to a close this September.

According to the figures, just 1.9 million workers were claiming furlough payments at the end of June 2021 – representing the fewest number of people on furlough since the scheme launched in March 2020.

This means that more than half a million employees returned to the workplace in May and almost three million people have moved off furlough since March.

The most recent estimates for July, meanwhile, suggest that as few as 1.1 million workers are currently using the scheme – down from a peak of nine million at the height of the pandemic in May 2020.

The report also reveals that younger people – those under the age of 25 – are returning to work faster than any other age group, while jobs in sectors including hospitality and retail are moving off the scheme faster than any other sector.

Commenting on the figures, Chancellor of the Exchequer 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.

“I’m proud our Plan for Jobs is working and our support will continue in the months ahead.”

From 1 August, the employer contribution to furlough costs increased to 20 per cent ahead of the scheme closing at the end of September.

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