U.K. Workers Still on Furlough Tend to be Older, Researcher Says

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Young U.K. workers were most likely to be furloughed, but older people have the highest chance of still being fully reliant on wage subsidies and being made unemployed.

That’s according to a new report by the Resolution Foundation think tank, which found that about half of workers on furlough in May were 45 or older, up from 38% during the first lockdown.

The majority of those who were furloughed have now returned to work. The state-backed program begins winding down Thursday, with companies now obliged to pay a 10th of employees’ pre-pandemic wages. It will end completely on Sept. 30.

Still, despite the gradual reopening of the economy, more than one in four workers aged 55-64 who were fully furloughed during the recent lockdown remained so in May and now face a higher risk of unemployment. The research suggests that younger workers are finding it easier than older workers to move into different jobs.

The report also said:

  • The richest fifth of families are almost four times as likely to have seen their savings rise rather than fall over the course of the crisis
  • The poorest fifth of families are three times as likely to have seen their savings fall and their debts rise
  • This will leave an “unequal legacy” on family finances
  • To ease pressure on low-income families, the Resolution Foundation said the government should reverse its decision to cut payments known as Universal Credit by 20 pounds ($28) a week in October

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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