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60% of furloughed hospitality workers now back at work, new data shows

Press Release

The majority of furloughed hospitality (60%) and construction workers (70%) are now back at work, RSA analysis of the most recent ONS Business Impact of Coronavirus Survey (BICS) data reveals.

The RSA finds:

  • The hospitality sector (accommodation and food services) has seen workers return relatively quickly since the nadir of the lockdown in April, with only 31% furloughed in July — down from 78% in late April.  
  • Construction and retail have both also seen large numbers of workers return from furlough in recent months with 70% estimated to be back at work.  
  • However, arts, entertainment and recreation are continuing to struggle, with only 29% of workers having returned from furlough. This includes venues such as theaters, cinemas and nightclubs, as well as gyms and leisure centres, many of which are yet to re-open, let alone benefit from support equivalent to the Chancellor’s ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme.   
  • More than a quarter of workers in administrative and support services also remained furloughed. Many of these jobs are likely to be in the tourism sector, which is part of this broad grouping and has also been adversely affected by the pandemic.  

 

 

Industry 

BICS Furlough estimate late April 

BICS Furlough estimate mid-July 

Estimated to have returned from furlough 

Accommodation And Food Service Activities 

78% 

31% 

60% 

Arts, Entertainment And Recreation 

65% 

46% 

29% 

Construction 

45% 

14% 

70% 

Administrative And Support Service Activities 

36% 

26% 

28% 

Manufacturing 

32% 

13% 

61% 

Transportation And Storage 

32% 

17% 

46% 

All Industries 

31% 

14% 

56% 

Real Estate Activities 

28% 

10% 

65% 

Wholesale And Retail Trade; Repair Of Motor Vehicles And Motorcycles 

26% 

7% 

74% 

Information And Communication 

13% 

5% 

61% 

Professional, Scientific And Technical Activities 

13% 

10% 

19% 

Water Supply, Sewerage, Waste Management And Remediation Activities 

12% 

2% 

85% 

Education 

9% 

9% 

-7% 

Human Health And Social Work Activities 

7% 

5% 

22% 

 

The RSA calls on the government to extend furloughing for the more struggling sectors of the economy.  

 

Fabian Wallace-Stephens, senior researcher at the RSA, said: 

“The return to work is encouraging news for the millions of workers in sectors like hospitality and construction. However, for some sectors such as the arts and entertainment, the numbers are worrying low and may prove to be the warning signs of significant redundancies.   

“The government needs to give continued, focused support for these sectors of the economy, linked to a clear recovery strategy.” 

ends 

 

 

 

Methodology: 

The RSA compared data released yesterday (13 August) from the ONS Business Impact of Coronavirus Survey (BICS) with figures that capture peak levels of furloughing back in May. While HMRC has published administrative figures on the take up of furlough scheme, the Resolution Foundation has pointed out that these are cumulative and so “entirely meaningless when it comes to understanding the path of the economic recovery”. Figures from the BICS are broadly aligned with those from HMRC and so this provides a reliable method to compare furloughing rates by time and sector.  

 

Contact:  

Ash Singleton, Head of Media & Communications, ash.singleton@rsa.org.uk, 07799 737 970.   

 

Notes:  

The RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) is an independent charity which believes in a world where everyone is able to participate in creating a better future.   

Through our ideas, research and a 30,000 strong Fellowship, we are a global community of proactive problem solvers, sharing powerful ideas, carrying out cutting-edge research and building networks. We create opportunities for people to collaborate, influence, and demonstrate practical solutions to realise change.   

Our work covers a number of areas including the rise of the 'gig economy', robotics & automation; education & creative learning; and reforming public services to put communities in control.

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