The hospitality sector, hit hardest by the crisis, furloughed 1.15m people, up 3% from December. It had the highest take-up of firms, with 65% of businesses applying for help. Hospitality, retail and leisure accounted for more than half of all furloughed staff in the UK.
The wholesale and retail sector also took a big step backwards, with 938,500 jobs supported, up from a low of 356,400 in October. The number was still below April’s peak of 1.85m.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme pays up to 80% of salaries to those who cannot work because of Covid-19 restrictions.
More than 11m jobs have tapped the scheme since its inception.
At the peak of the crisis, May 2020, around three-in-ten private sector employees were furloughed, some 8.9m in total. Recent ONS data suggested furloughing rates have soared again in January.
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