One in eight of the UK workforce, more than three million people, was on leave as the government’s wage subsidy scheme began to be phased out, according to the latest official data.
The Bureau of National Statistics’ regular economic update found that 12% of workers were on leave between late July and mid-August, half the number two months earlier. Among businesses that negotiate, 11% of the workforce were on leave, rising to 71% for the 4% of businesses that had not yet reopened.
The ONS health check showed road traffic levels were reaching 91% of their level before the Covid-19 crisis began to affect the economy in February; the number of newly advertised vacancies had slightly decreased; and only 1% of companies rated their risk of insolvency as serious. Another 10% described the threat as moderate and 12% said they were not sure.
Chloe Gibbs, senior statistician at the ONS, said: “Despite recent economic news, it is encouraging that four in five companies say they have little or no risk of going bankrupt. Road traffic data shows that the number of car trips is returning to normal levels as people venture into stores and commute to work. “