UK faces unprecedented labour market inactivity, says BoE’s Haldane

The Chief Economist of the Bank of England, Andy Haldane, listens from the audience at an event at the Bank of England in the City of London

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain is suffering from what looks like a record level of inactivity in its labour market because of the huge numbers of people on furlough or facing unemployment due to COVID-19, Bank of England chief economist Andy Haldane said.

“We’ve seen activity across the economy collapse, and we’ve seen a rapid rise in inactivity among workers – both people being made unemployed, but importantly … 8 million people underemployed due to furlough schemes,” Haldane said during an online discussion at the CogX technology conference.

“That’s a level of inactivity in the jobs market we haven’t seen, possibly ever,” he added.

The BoE said last month that the unemployment rate was likely to more than double to 9% during the three months to June, excluding the millions of people being kept in work by the government’s job support scheme.

(Reporting by David Milliken; editing by Stephen Addison)

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