The pandemic has destroyed a decade of rising employment in a matter of months

That would be a worrying enough surge at any stage, but against a backdrop of unprecedented state support for the jobs market in the form of the Chancellor’s furlough scheme and during a period when Eat Out to Help Out was meant to boost large swathes of the economy, it is terrifying.

Imagine, then, what lies in store once this giant safety net is suddenly whipped away at the end of the month. Expect another huge jump. The question is simply how big it will be. Berenberg predicts a wave of lay-offs that could see the unemployment rate nearly double again to 8pc in the final quarter of the year alone. That’s higher than the peak during the financial crisis. 

The Institute for Employment Studies comes to a similar conclusion, predicting the equivalent of 600,000 more job losses before the end of the year. And yet that’s still not as bad as things could get, not even close according to some forecasts. 

An incredible 3m workers remain on furlough. With restrictions tightening across the country, how many of those can expect to still have jobs once the scheme ends? A study from the Centre for Economics and Business Research found that UK businesses are planning to lay off more than a third of furloughed workers at the end of October – equivalent to 1m people.

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