COVID-19 unemployment is worst for groups most vulnerable to the disease
Workers from ethnic minority backgrounds are most likely to have lost their jobs following furlough, and hospitality workers are among the least likely to have found new roles following redundancy, according to a new study of unemployment following furlough during the novel coronavirus crisis. As reported by the Guardian, around 20 percent of workers from ethnic minority backgrounds have lost work following being furloughed, with similar proportions applying to workers on insecure or zero-hour contracts. The link between job insecurity, ethnic background, and increased risk of unemployment matches the well-documented increased susceptibility to the virus, which Public Health England initially tried to suppress before being pressured into releasing a delayed report in June.
The increased likelihood of losing a job is coupled with the decreased likelihood of finding a new one. This is particularly evident in restaurants, pubs, and bars, with just one third of hospitality workers made redundant after being on furlough able to find new roles. The figures come from a YouGov survey of 6,000 people, and a second survey from the Resolution Foundation, a living standards think-tank.
The furlough scheme ends on 1 November, being replaced by the job support scheme. While chancellor Rishi Sunak recently expanded the new scheme after criticism of its insufficiency for businesses under tier 2 coronavirus restrictions, its anchor remains “viable jobs,” with only workers fulfilling 20 percent of their contracted hours eligible. The possibility of vast unemployment in the sector has always been an anchor of lobbying and pressure from the hospitality world, and these new figures, coupled with the introduction of tier 2 restrictions, show that incoming job support measures desperately need to work, not just now, but for months to come. [Guardian]
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